Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fun in the Snow

A little fun in the snow today.


This is not me, by the way - that's Garrison.

Garrison pulled out the old sled and talked me into trying it. That was a blast, but very exhausting! We'd be in much better physical shape if it snowed much around here because just the effort of walking on level ground is a workout. Walking uphill is a ramped up workout. See, that's the thing about sledding downhill. Going down is so easy, but coming back up is not.

The horses watched Garrison go by. They think we're nuts.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Forgot my favorite picture

Comanche's eye, with icicles. They don't seem to be bothering him at all. He and Shasta both have them all down their backs too. They can stay under the stall if they wanted, but they prefer to go outside.




4 o'clock and still snowing






Here's some more from this afternoon. I'm not going back out today if I can help it; my feet are frozen! The horses needed more water in their stall, so I did get to test out my freeze preparations for the faucet down there. It worked great. The faucet is on the ground, because that's where I cut it off when it froze during the last freeze. So I covered the end with a bundle of hay, then with a plastic layer, then with an old curtain and weighed it down with rocks. The whole assembly came off in one big frozen piece, but the water was not frozen. I had hung the hose so that no water would stay in it to freeze and become plugged, because in the past, even if I had water down there, the hose would be frozen and useless. That worked well, too. Here's a short video I took. I am not sure how to load this, but we'll see if it works. If it doesn't work, you'll just have to see how hard it's snowing by looking at the pictures ;) It was deep enough to go over the top of my shoes now. That's pretty deep for us! I'd guess about 5 or 6 inches now.
video

Blizzard





It's really snowing hard now, but soooo cold outside it's hard to stay out for long. I don't know if it's actually cold in degrees, but the snow is moist and the humidity is high, which makes it more uncomfortable. It's pretty, though. The horses have icicles on them, even.

Snow






It's snowing pretty hard now, a blizzard, even.

Ice and Sleet, and a little Snow too





The great winter storm of 2010 hasn't been too bad so far. The rain started freezing as it fell yesterday afternoon, resulting in the icicles in the pictures, but soon after it turned to sleet and that's mainly what precipitation we've gotten all night.
It is cold and windy, though! My fingers were freezing when I tried to take these pictures and my lense adjuster wouldn't work, so I didn't take very many. I'll go back outside later when I've thawed some to take more.
Since I was able to walk down the hill and back up again to feed the horses, I turned them out. I'd penned them up in case the ice was too slippery, but with the layer of sleet over the ice, its better footing.
We left the faucets running last night, and all is well on the water front. At work, I caught up on all of my samples, so although I might be able to make it in this morning, I'm going to take this opportunity to be home instead.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Seed Swap

For those of you in the area who might be interested, I just got this press release from Jennifer Held and promised to spread the word:

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Dr. Brian Campbell brianc@uca.edu (501) 450-3178 M-F,

Organization: Conserving Arkansas’s Agricultural Heritage (CAAH!)

Date: For immediate distribution

Headline: CAAH! Will co-sponsor Seed Swaps in Seven Arkansas Communities

Got Whippoorwills? Razorbacks? Red Rippers? Pencil Cob? Hickory King? Greasebacks? Turkey Craws? Want some? Come to an Old-Timey Ozark Seed Swap!

Grow Your Own Revolution:

CAAH! will Co-sponsor Seed Swaps in Seven Arkansas Communities

CAAH! Conserving Arkansas’s Agricultural Heritage

“One for the cut worm, one for the crow, one to share, and one to grow”

www.arkansasagro.wordpress.com

Spring is just around the corner and so are our seed swaps! In addition to the 3rd Annual Ozark Seed Swap at the Ozark Folk Center State Park and the 2nd Annual Faulkner County Seed Swap at the Faulkner County Library, CAAH! has collaborated with organizations all over the state to establish new Seed Swaps in five additional communities: El Dorado, Fayetteville, Jasper, Russellville, and Searcy. Arkansas farmers and gardeners have a legacy of heirloom seeds that are in danger of being lost, and the sharing of these heirloom seeds will encourage their production for posterity. Last year’s swaps were a huge success with hundreds of gardeners in attendance and a remarkable number of heirloom varieties exchanging hands. We invite you to bring some seeds and stories to swap with other Ozark seed savers and yarn spinners. If you do not have any seeds to swap but want to get started, attend a swap or two and mingle with gardeners and farmers who can help; if you would like, you may bring envelopes, plant cuttings or garden implements to share... We can conserve the heritage of Arkansas while we share good stories, beautify our yards, and of course, get free seeds. Refreshments and music (a pickin’-please bring an instrument if you would like to join in!) will be provided. No charge for admission.

Seed Swaps will be held at the following locations and times:

Mountain View

February 13th 12-3pm

Ozark Folk Center, Administration Building

1032 Park Ave Mountain View, AR 72560

Contact: Tina Marie Wilcox 870-269-3851

Fayetteville

February 14th

Fayetteville Public Library
401
W. Mountain St., Fayetteville AR 72701

Contact: Katy Deaton, katyd@ncat.org

El Dorado

February 20th 1-4 pm

Barton (El Dorado) Public Library
200 East 5th St., El Dorado AR

Contact: Nancy Arn 870-863-5447

Searcy

February 27th 10 am-1pm

ASU- Beebe, Farms Classrooms
1000 West Iowa St., Beebe AR
Contact:
Sherri Sanders 501-268-5394 SSanders@uaex.edu

Jasper
March 6th 10am-5pm
Newton County Library, Community Room
Contact:
D’Coda dcoda@ozarkseedexchange.com or Jennifer (870)446-2983

Conway

March 13th 1pm-4pm

Faulkner County Library
1900 Tyler St., Conway AR 72032
Contact: Amy Campbell 706-248-2597 or awheeler1975@hotnail.com

Russellville

March 27th 10 am-1 pm

Pope County Fair Grounds, old Entertainment Building

1602 SR 124 Russellville AR 72802
Contact: Crystal Bowne 479-567-5707 or cbowne@atu.edu

Now in its third year CAAH! Seed Swaps are sponsored by CAAH!, The University of Central Arkansas Department of Sociology, and the Ozark Folk Center State Park along with interested farmers and gardeners across Arkansas. The seed swaps would not be possible without the donation of facilities in each city and the hard work of our student and AmeriCorps volunteers. CAAH! is a project dedicated to preserving agricultural folkways. Through this project agricultural tradition is spread by saving seeds in a central seed bank and giving them to gardeners throughout Arkansas along with the stories and meaning that have become a part of their essence. The results of the this project are the collection of information on endangered seeds, promotion of a seed sharing resource, and the rejuvenation of traditional Ozark seed swaps and passing on of seeds (as is being encouraged by the University of Georgia's Southern Seed Legacy). For more information on the CAAH! project, our website address is: http://www.arkansasagro.wordpress.com

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Country Life and Boys

It was a good clue when I saw the pile of clothes by the back door. If eldest hadn't already called me I would have noticed it anyway.

Youngest was skunked while I was out. It seems he caught a skunk in his trap and there was no other way to get it out other than up close. And in the end, even that didn't work, so the skunk had to be shot, unfortunately. Zack said he thought Garrison's eyes were watering because he was sad over having to kill the skunk, when he came back to the house on the 4-wheeler, but he quickly realized it was more from overwhelming stink than tears.

We've had dogs get skunked but this was the first one of the kids to be on the recieving end. He showered in tomato sauce. That helped, but not completely. He sprayed so much cologne on himself and the house that I can't tell which odor is assaulting my sinuses more. This is funny and I thought I'd share it after the laughter subsided enough to type coherently. It's the same kid who wanted to see why the paint cans have instructions not to puncture... the smell is easier to deal with than the head and face full of yellow spray paint was.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Glaciers are almost gone.

The jeep does great going over the ice. Zack's truck does okay, too. but the car still can't hop onto the iceberg or risk going into the ruts. It's melting finally, though, so maybe tomorrow.

Bobbie Sue better watch out or she might float off on a chunk like a polar bear.


The ice is melting underneath and the water is flowing past. These ruts are so deep the car would get stuck if it went in.




Nuts.

For those of you who know me, I thought I'd post this pictures of my new hair color. Ordinarily, if I've ever colored my hair, it's so close to the original color no one could tell. Well. This is different. I don't think I'll be able to sneak in without it being noticed at work Monday morning. I am bracing myself for that, but at least I've got a full day to get used to it. Poor picture quality, sorry, but the battery died right after and I couldn't get a better one. If you can't tell, it's dark chestnut brown with some of the blonde still coming through near the top. The ends are very dark.


There's still a little ice on the driveway, too. Got some pictures of the ruts today. Its the ruts that are giving the car trouble, since they're so deep. Those pics are in the next post.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Glaciers in the Driveway

We still have Glacier #1 and #2 in our driveway. The first one, coming from the house, is a thick bed of ice caused by a small tributary to the creek which parallels the driveway. It still flows in the attempt to reach the creek, but just keeps building layers of ice once it reaches the driveway. Coming off of it is easier than getting onto it to go up the hill. Just have to be careful not to hit the brakes if you’re not happy about your speed at the point of contact. The second is a large flat sheet of ice that makes for fun slipping and sliding. This one is caused by the spring overflowing the tank on top of that hill. The water seeps out at the base of the hill and spreads out, freezing layer upon layer. 4-wheelers and the 4WD jeep do just fine getting us across our glaciers, but we have left the other 2WD vehicles parked on the other side until it melts. Hopefully, it will be gone by the weekend :)

Upstairs seems to be all dried now with no evidence of water anywhere. Whew.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frozen Drains

Today the upstairs water lines finally defrosted. I've had the taps open so that once the flow started, it wouldn't freeze back up if I weren't around to notice. I had to go to work today so I was gone most of the day. It was a good plan, but one with other scenarios not completely thought out. The drain lines did not defrost. So I came home to water dripping down the front wall of the kitchen. Ran upstairs to find the entire bedroom and bathroom flooded.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Whoo-hoo! Home at last

The mechanic called this morning to say that he had the jeep done enough for me to use it until I can get it back to the shop after this icy/snowy weather is done. It still needs a bracket to hold the headlights more secure (right now it's rigged with zip-ties), tie rods, and some other things, but it will get me in and out my county road and I am thrilled. Next week, I'll take it back to get the rest of the work done.

It feels good to be home after camping out at work all week. Good to see my kids!

Right now it's 7*F and getting colder by the hour. Will likely be at or below 0*F tomorrow morning. Brrrr!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Camping at Work

The parts for my jeep came in today, so I brought them over to the mechanic in Huntsville. We talked a little about how long it might take. I said, no pressure or anything, but if you can get it done by Friday, I might get to go home this weekend. He laughed. We both know that if it gets as cold as it's predicted to on Thursday, he won't be in the shop. But he did say he'd try to have it done.

I've been camping at work. The road is still too snowy/packed for my truck to get out if I did make it up Snotgrass hill (there's debate over whether the name is 'snotgrass' or 'snodgrass' no one really seems to know). But if the jeep isn't done, I will get home this weekend anyway. I'll just park at the bottom of the hill and get someone on the other end to come pick me up - either one of the neighbors or Garrison on the 4-wheeler. If we do the 4-wheeler, though, we'll be popsicles by the time we get back to the house unless he remembers to bring a big blanket to wrap in on the way there and back. That might work.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Nature Humor

I was supposed to return to work this morning, after a long New Year's break. However, Nature had other ideas. First, yesterday she had me attempt to get the truck up the road unsuccessfully, causing me to learn how to slide backwards downhill in a truck with no rear view (because the camper blocks rear vision). That was exciting. The kids were with me and they made the event even more exciting with all that noise. So the truck was turned around and pointing back the way we came. Good. Onward to the house. That was exciting, too, since there are fairly good hills to climb. They were easy enough to navigate down, so I was hopeful. Nature had the idea to teach me how to climb hills in a rear-wheel drive truck while sliding precariously close to the edge of the drop-off, as kids hooted and hollered beside me. That was even more fun than the first uphill we attempted, out on the county road. We did make it back up to the house, where I promptly parked the truck and declared us snow-bound.

Tried the car this morning. Driving it was not as exciting in the snow as the truck was, so I was hopeful that with the car I'd be able to get to work this morning. Just to be safe, I parked downhill from the house, in the event Nature wanted me to learn sailing over the ravine in small car on the way down said hill this morning. Made it down to the car on foot this morning without busting my chops once. I was proud of that, since yesterday's hike up to the house after parking it there was a little more eventful. It gave me hope for more success. Car made it out the driveway just fine. Also made it halfway up the original problem hill just fine. But did you know, that lightweight front-wheel drive cars can slide bacwards even faster downhill than heavy rear-wheel trucks? Almost like skiing, in fact.

Turned car around, almost on purpose. Pointed back toward house. Made it to first hill right past the gate and lovely car would not make it up. Parked car and proceeded to walk the half mile back to the house. It was a beautiful morning this morning, and if I weren't so miffed at being thwarted at every turn and hill, I would have enjoyed it a little more.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

More Pics

Bobbie Sue:
Badger:

Badger and Bobbie Sue


Greenery on ice:

Old White oak:


Homestead Bell:


Across to the valley:



Snow pile on post:

Wood, metal and stone:












Another picture


First Snow


First 'real' snow of 2010. So far, about an inch, but it's steadily coming down and it looks like at this pace we might have a few inches by tomorrow if it doesn't stop.
I love the snow. Even the cold doesn't feel so cold when it's snowing. But it is only 19*F, and hands do have a tendency to freeze. The dogs love it, though. They are much more playful when it's cold out. Maybe they do that to stay warm, but they appear to like it.
My camera battery is charging right now, but I'll take more pics later on today when it is ready.