Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Torrents of spring

Yesterday the temperature rose up into the 50s, and spring erupted.  Spring appeared like a translucent flame, flensing snow into mist.  Frozen ground appeared, dirt, rocks, and old leaves with exhausted grass. The top of the earth churned into mud.

So much snow melted that creeks supercharged, rising and raging in their beds.

Reeds and grasses lining the recently frozen creeks fell under the waters, then wavered in the coursing current;

Such a brutal shock is spring here, confusing our bodies' rhythms and expectations.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April is the cruelest month, which means soup

Our daughter in Virginia is reading T. S. Eliot for the first time this week, which naturally makes us in Vermont think of his famous line: "April is the cruelest month..."

Because unlike in Virginia, or in England, where Eliot lived while writing The Waste Land, Vermont still maintains a healthy appetite for winter, despite the nominal onset of spring.
The creek about a mile southwest of the house.
One of the food blogs I (Bryan) follow proclaimed the start of spring, and commended the creation of bright, sunny, green soups in celebration.  This is appalling, of course, so I reached back in my culinary past to make some thick, warm potato and leek soup instead.
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I used a Julia Child recipe (as one should), and was struck by how we can - and do - grow all of the ingredients,   The soup essentially needs water, potatoes, and leeks, plus seasoning.  Potatoes we grow.  Leeks we haven't, but will now attempt.  And water comes from our well.

Next up: French onion soup.  And maybe the end of snow (for now).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Late March and the snow still holds

It's the second half of March, a couple of days from the spring solstice, and the land is still cold under snowpack.
For example, here's the spot for planting beans:

That's several feet thick.  To be fair, it's lower than it was last month, after a week's heat wave.

What we do now is plan our plantings, waiting for the seeds to arrive.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A revolution in home electricity?

Storing home-generated electricity has been a cobbled-together hack for decades.  It involves stringing together a group of golf cart batteries, usually, along with maintaining the cantankerous things.  We haven't done this yet, because we can't generate electricity, but it looms ahead when we'll be able to.

But now, things might change.  Tesla Motors will sell a big home battery this fall, it seems, based on the technology they developed to hold their cars' charges.

It might work like this:
“We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary (battery) pack,” Forbes had quoted Musk as saying at the time. “Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.”
If that works, and if it's affordable, unlike the Tesla, the battery is something for us to look into once we can make progress generating our own electricity.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

In the snow days

Now the snows are deep.  Accumulations come and we don't measure them, since their additions are minor in comparison to the drifts.

So we return to hauling in wood over snow.  Well, through trenches we've worn in the snow over the past few months,  Here's a sample load of wood piled into a big sled:

Note the pile on the upper left.  That was buried completely under snow.  I had to dig out the tarp, using a shovel for digging earth to break up ice which froze the tarp's edges to the ground.  The wood was secure under all that.

We also take advantage of the new, snow-made landscape to go snowshoeing.  Ceredwyn and I stomped into the woods across the lane.  Hestia came with us.  Snowshoeing is excellent exercise, working leg and hip muscles in unusual ways.  Extra muscle work is required when the dog decides to rest on my shoe.

Alternatively Hestia plunges ahead into the snow on her own, breaking trail like a submarine.

We worked our way deep into the woods, carving out a trail on the path supposedly leading to the next town.  Two days we've done this, pushing further the second time.  We'll see how far we get.

Meanwhile another storm is due to arrive, layering more snow onto the drift-made contours.

All of this is temporary, we know, due to melt into air - literally - once spring starts appearing.  But the snow feels all to real and durable for now.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snow cat

It is February and the snow just keeps coming.

This doesn't stop two of our cats from patrolling outside. Every morning Hunter and Spider insist on being let outside to bravely stalk the drifts.
 Then they need to be let back in:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winter gets serious

It's January and winter isn't playing around any more. I made a little story about this called No More Mrs. Nice Winter.