Friday, January 30, 2015

Deep Snow

Ah, winter, there you are.  It just doesn't feel like the New England winter without a lot of snow.  There's something magical about not being able to see around snow plow piles, or walking 3 feet without getting snow in your boots.  This is the part I usually want to hurry up and get here so we can hurry up and get past it.  All in good time, I suppose.

After dropping 30" in about 36 hours Tuesday and Wednesday we definitely had our work cut out for us.  The snow blower and a few hours outside took care of the worst of it, but as a little more snow persists in falling today I find myself wondering if we are well and truly buried now until spring.

Some years the snow comes and the snow goes.  Big storms with a lot of accumulation spread out between long periods where the snow melts or blows away usually just in time for the next big blow.  Other years the snow falls, and falls, and falls and before you know it you're digging pathways just trying to find your pathways and the hope that it might melt off some before the next snow sounds like crazy talk. (continued)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thermostat? What's a thermostat?

Feeding the dragon.
We heat with wood.  At least partially.  The house is not optimally designed for this, with a fireplace insert wood stove on one end of the house and a long, chilly walk to the bedrooms on the far side. This long ranch style with poor solar aspect doesn't lend itself to heating with oil really either, so in a choice between the two types of heat we err on the side of wood.

Mostly this works out well. Between the stove, a couple of strategically placed box fans, and embracing the need to actually use blankets at night we do alright.  I, for one, prefer to sleep in a cooler room anyway and if Mrs. Farmer would perhaps be more comfortable sleeping inside the wood stove rather than in the chilly bedroom even she rarely complains once she's under the down comforter and everything has warmed up. (continued)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's in a Meme?
This winter has thus far not been the cabin-fever rich, house bound, pile of free time I thought it would be.  I suppose this means not only that can be wrong occasionally but also that there is really no rest for weary me just yet.

One of the many things I have been spending time on is the forums over at (click the farmer to check it out).  There are lots of things going on over there, but the recent "most fun" thing is Paul Wheaton asks me to make memes for him.

I have some issue with the use of the word "meme" here, because these are not "ideas spreading through large numbers of people through our culture" but instead are memes only in as much as they are words over images that we hope will be "ideas spreading through large numbers of people through our culture".  Proto-memes then? Sure.  I am making proto-memes for Paul Wheaton by request. See the thread and participate here or (continue)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fresh Snow

Doesn't take long for a lot of little feet
to stir up the fresh snow.
With 4-6" of snow on the ground now it feels more like the winter I expected this year.  Shoveling, chores, wood hauling and the like have really churned up the "white perfection" motif over the last couple of days but idyllic picturesque snowscapes never move me much after the first good snow of the season.  Once again we have snow in the forecast so before too long I expect we'll have our fresh coat on the ground and no doubt more shoveling and grumbling from me.

It's not all bad, of course.  The additional snow coverage will protect the soil and many of our plants from the most severe aspects of the wind and cold and even the swales with their optimal south-facing solar gain have a measurable blanket of protection.  This is New England though, so in 2 weeks I might be looking at bare ground again (who knows) but while the snow is here, benefits it will provide. (continued)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cold Nights, Warm Kitchen

No visitors at the buffet. Bad sign.
Having repeatedly taunted the New England weather over the last several weeks mother nature has decided to kick me hard, and it probably serves me right.  From temperatures pushing 50° F around Christmas we have plummeted severely.  Daytime temps have flirted with freezing for the past week and overnights have been closer to zero. Tomorrow we'll be lucky to get to 20° for a high and -10° (yeah, that's 40 below freezing) overnight.

Makes me shiver just talking about it.  One benefit from last week's weather though is we have a bit of snow on the ground.  This makes chores harder but the scenery better.  So far I have not slipped on the ice yet, but I suspect I'll have my chance before things warm up.  With the snow layer as shallow as it is, a day or two of halfway decent weather will probably melt it all.  Not that I'm complaining mind you... but this time last year I'm pretty sure we had over a foot on the ground and more on the forecast. (continued)

Friday, January 2, 2015


He's only getting started. I bet he'll work his way
up to colors and stripes.
One needs to collect the eggs every day with chickens. It's a really good reminder usually of how good they are to keep around.

The rabbits I would not have considered keeping for eggs. Of course, the experts only write the books but nobody yet has gotten the rabbits to read them so maybe the poor critters just don't know how it's supposed to work.  Here I was, operating under the assumption that my rabbits were mammals, and that this one was in fact male... and he laid an egg.

The chickens left me 11 eggs of the more standard variety today too so maybe we'll let Mr. Rabbit lay a few more and see what happens.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

There's a First Time For Everything

Assorted bits ready for trimming/cleaning.
Turns out pig butchery is pretty easy. I was surprised too. Best part as far as I'm concerned is there are no feathers.  The meat to plucking time ratio is optimal.  The sheer volume can be a bit of an issue, but I have always said having enough of a good thing to be worried about having "too much" is the kind of problem I like to have.  More photos after the break.