Grover has excellent snowy woods camo. Can you find him?
As I write this today, the sun is shining and the sound of dripping running water is everywhere. We are experiencing a February thaw and anywhere from 8 to 12 inches of accumulated snow and ice is melting. I love seeing the sunshine and warmer temperatures, but it sure is messy. I was awakened at about 3:30 this morning by hail or sleet hitting the house accompanied by a couple of big crashes of thunder. Crazy weather. This past Saturday, we got another 2 to 3 inches of snow.
And then it warmed up above freezing on Sunday (just barely) and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to go hiking up over our hill and onto Wayne National Forest, which I have not done in weeks because of all the snow. I don't mind walking in 3 to 4 inches of snow, but much above that and it becomes a lot of work. I really don't know what I was thinking. It was such hard walking, I wore myself out. Rowdy followed along in my tracks and of course Grover was unaffected by any of it. My jeans were soaked almost to my knees by the time I got home.
Another wonderful side-effect of the thaw is barn clean-up. The alpacas poop in piles. They all go in the same piles. So with as cold as it has been, the poop has frozen in layers. I tried to scrape off the top layers on a daily basis, but I'm not big on scraping up frozen poop. Well now those many days worth of layers are thawing. What a mess. And I must say I am NOT looking forward to the chicken coop thawing out. My chickens have never been inside for such a long period of time. Yuck. They actually came outside for the first time in weeks yesterday. I shoveled an area right in front of their little door down to the icy bottom layer and spread some bread crumbs and egg shells and a little dry dog food out there for them. I imagine today they may head for the grassy spot under the big pine tree in the yard.
Also with the thaw, we tapped our maple trees. Just last night at dusk. It helped that yesterday we finally got our Christmas present to each other. We got a nice new Honda Pioneer side-by-side! It has been dog approved. Sam says it will fit 8 sap buckets in the bed snugly enough not to have to tie them down. Last night we took it up to the top of the ridge in the melting foot of snow to tap trees and made Grover run since only 3 of us fit on the seat. He was such a muddy mess. We also got a brand new evaporator pan which Sam is getting ready to run our first batch of sap in. I am afraid that with as late as we are starting, the weather will get too warm too quickly for a good syrup season. Ultimately we want sunny days above freezing (like today), and nights that drop back into the upper 20's or at least freezing. We are 10 days behind last year. It's hard to not want it to get warm, though.
We have also decided to sell off some trees. Timber companies are paying big money for walnut right now, so Sam had a guy come in and cut some bigger walnut trees. We also still have trees that came down in the derecho storm in June 2012 that need to be hauled out. Our property has not been timbered in many years and we will only selectively cut, not like many of the properties surrounding us. This is all walnut.
I finished up some socks I started right before the trip to Florida. I finished one while I was there. I need to throw them in the washer and see if they will shrink a little. I like them, but they are a little too big. If they don't shrink, I will gift them to someone with bigger feet than I have.
I also finished warping my loom yesterday and have a rug about 1/2 woven. I am weaving a 2' X 3' rug and then a matching 6' runner. Mostly chocolate brown with some stripes on the ends.
So until next week, here is how my world looked at 8:30 this morning.