Tag Archives: nature

April

The snow has finally melted! Yesterday the lupines popped out of the mountain side and today the humming birds have returned. We are still at three days of sunshine this year with cloud cover again. The solar panels are not really amused but the plants in the greenhouse have the grow lights on them to help them on these cloudy days.

20180501_192225

The days are warm enough now for t-shits and the work outside has picked back up again. Below the dam where the trees were dropped from making room for the greenhouse has become the target of focus. We will be putting in an orchard in the space as well as the chicken coop. (Zone 3 in permaculture) The ladies will be under and among the trees. The final plan for the coop is being worked out with several ideas in mind, including one with a rocket stove inside the wall to give them extra winter heat.

20180407_131457

Thor thought he would help with clean up and kept making a bed out of the piles of slash that we needed to burn and sort. A perfect place to chew on a freshly found deer shed I guess. Almost two weeks of picking up the dead fall, chain saw work and nonstop fire, we got through the fiddlestick game of trees and found the rock bank. To my delight gooseberries are coming up and hopefully I can encourage them to thrive there.  20180505_121019

Our top temp today is likely to be in the mid 50’s with chance of rain, but as soon as I step away from the computer I will be outside. Summers in Montana tend to go from cool and grey to too hot and so smokey work outside must stop. Last year we went from smoke to snow with no chance for much fall work, hopefully this year we have fewer fires and more work can get done. The coop, the orchard, and more gardens, as well as a cob oven. Not to mention all the other stuff.

chickens still in the greenhouse

This year spring has been in a long debate with winter whose turn it was. Just days ago we had six inches of snow. This high up however, while lilacs bloom down along the river we get frost every morning. It drives home, again, how difficult growing a garden in a zone 3 can be.

 

Inside the green house though it is warm enough the cool weather plants have been up for weeks. The unfortunate thing is that the chickens are still using a section as a coop and two in particular are very clever and naught. Julie Chicken and Katie Bird have escaped. Not once, not twice, but a dozen times and proceeded to tear u seeds, devour seedling and teach the others that out is better than in.

1493928101133 (1)

Julie has even learned to escape the green house all together and look for better places to be. She is perhaps the most naughty bird I have ever met. At this point every three days or so I let them roam free. Sooner or later this will bring in wildlife from the mountain and Sterling, (lives down the hill) hates noise of all kinds and having Boots the rooster crowing in his driveway is not a good way to keep the peace.

1493919118083

With them free to explore and a constant seeking of escape routes the seedlings have begun to grow with vigor.

orca-image-1495499798929.jpg_1495499803946

Flowers have come up now that the threat of chicken attacks have passed and the other plants have followed.

orca-image-1495499698749.jpg_1495499699502

There are places however that remain sprout-less as I have to plant and replant them. With bird netting and coop, hopefully repaired enough to hold until the long term coop is built, this time they might get to grow.

The gutter gardens are doing very well right now. As I have never used this style of alternative beds I am still experimenting with water and exactly what pants can and can not handle the heat to their roots.

orca-image-1495499773258.jpg_1495499774283

With room in the green house for plants to be kept over winter this year I am playing with warm zone plants. Various pond plants as well as lotus. I put the seeds in water three days ago and when they sprout I will be sure to keep you informed on their progress.  Some of those I ordered have fallen rather sadly into a state of abuse as they had no time to adjust and even int eh green house water barrels they got too cold but now with the weather finally starting to warm they are putting out new leaves and starting to recover. This year will be bursting with life and I will be sure to keep you posted.

Late November Drive.

Yesterday, I drove over Rodgers Pass and down out of the mountains.  My brother and I went for a drive about, over dirt roads that we have been driving since we were teenagers.  The winder was sharp, nearly impossible to look into and made it feel less than pleasant, but I stopped to take a few pictures to share this amazing landscape.

Fort Shaw Butte

nov rockymountains 006nov rockymountains 012Off to the west… the Rocky Mountains

nov rockymountains 013Creek where the Brown Trout spawn

nov rockymountains 018Square Butte nov rockymountains 003The frozen Sun River

Walk to the Creek

Oz convinced me this morning, because its warmer now at 20°, to go for a walk with him down to the creek.  It might say 20° at the house but it is much colder down by the water.  The sun is far behind the mountain so deep in the valley so the creek is cast in a chilled twilight.

nov 2014 016

The frost in the shadows here builds up nightly,  making some rather fantastic creations.

nov 2014 004nov 2014 003Once under the cedars and next to the creek it felt as if the temperature dropped even further than is was just in the mountains shadow.

nov 2014 019

As expected the first thing to happen was the boy and the dogs went skidding across the ice.

nov 2014 017

Only then did they set to exploring.

nov 2014 012

Most all of the creek  is frozen over.  Only a few pockets remain open.

nov 2014 010

This hole stayed open last winter until it was nearly -40°.

nov 2014 011

At this point my camera was getting cold it enough it kept an error reading.  I managed to get a few more shots before heading back up the mountain to the Little Cabin and the fire place.

nov 2014 015

nov 2014 013

Morning Drive

This morning Oz began his apprenticeship so we braved the cold and headed out.  The car was not at all happy to be started with the near sub-zero weather, but after some protest and squealing it took us down the mountain.  The sun was just coming up over the mountain ridge line as we wound our way down to the main road.

nov 17.14 030

We got there just in time and warmed up by Q’s fire place before I headed back towards home.  Today I will edit!  On the way though I had to stop to take a few pictures.

nov 17.14 010

On the radio is said it was 3° and I that feels about right.  It doesn’t take long for the exposed fingers or the poor camera to feel very cold.

nov 17.14 015

It was cold enough Thor didn’t even want to get out of the car to walk with me.

nov 17.14 021

Cold weather is not my favourite thing, but after being outside in it the fire feels twice was wonderful and the coffee twice as rich.

winter photo

nov 2014 004

Stepping outside to let the puppy take a morning romp, this is what I see from my front step.  Coffee in hand just had to take a picture.  Only blow up to full size can it even begin to do justice to the view.  With the fire warm inside, the sun through the trees and the only sound the wood pecker thumping on a nearby tree, I am can only think to myself, ‘I love my little cabin in the mountains’

From Snow to Cold

Yesterday the snow arrived.  It wasn’t too cold, just a tad chilly at 20 degrees, but as often happens when winter arrives it does so with a sudden sharpness that can cause even experienced mountain dwellers to shudder and stay inside.

nov 2014 004

Warm in the cabin with sun gloriously streaming in through the windows I thought it would be a great day for a hike, to get the new snow, the sun and the blue sky but once outside the hike was decidedly short and back inside I went.

nov 2014 007

I snapped a few pictures and ducked back inside to make tea.  I was just getting settled to do edits on Through the Barrier, (something  have been putting off) when the Snoring Bear aka the Virgo #2 came asking if I could help him.

Down in the shadow of the mountain the skirting has not gone back up on his 5th wheel since he moved it from one side of the yard to the other a couple of months ago.  While my Little Cabin was still in the sun shine, be it heavily blocked by the trees that have not yet been thinned, he was well in the shade.

nov 2014 011

Part of being partners in such an endeavour is that one persons needs are the needs of all.  So down the mountain I went.  We worked on thawing the drain lines and then waited for the foam board to arrive.  (virgo #3 had gone to go pick it up) Unfortunately, it had not arrived when he had to go to work so with a look that bagged for help, he said, ‘if you get inspired feel free to work on it.’

On my walk down the road to his place I found two dropped treasures that are not from anywhere within a mile.  I wonder who dropped them and where they came from.

nov 2014 020

So for the last hour, I have been outside, the temperature steadily falling, working on the skirting.

My fingers and toes a bit on the frozen side I decided to needed to come in, warm up and most my pictures from earlier today.   Maybe tonight, or tomorrow I will post a few of the work I get done before the sun sets.

Photo Walk

Having it planned and ready we headed out to the photo walk early.  We met up on the river bank for an easy walk.  The weather was stunning with a day overcast but just warm enough to be very pleasant.  http://quietwalkblog.com/ came with hand outs and several cameras.  Brooke from Barnibee photography also came along.  We hiked and about a 1/2 mile along the river, taking our time and clicking pics as we went.

Once we got back to the car it was decided that we could pull together a scavenger hunt in a way to compare and share our walk and our photos.

1: a pair

A pair of rose hips

A pair of rose hips

 2: Open

Open Water.  The ice will be here shortly.  Time to pause and listen to the sound of the unhindered river.

Open Water. The ice will be here shortly. Time to pause and listen to the sound of the unhindered river.

3: Curly

curly vine

curly vine

4: Black

Black Raven Feather

Black Raven Feather

5:Fuzzy

Three small fuzzy little clumps of rock moss

Three small fuzzy little clumps of rock moss

6:Dead

Dead leaves on the trail

Dead leaves on the trail

7: Reflection

reflection of the mountains and trees on the Clack Fork River

reflection of the mountains and trees on the Clack Fork River

8:Autum Colors

In every direction the leaves each became an individual piece of art as the colors seemed to each vie for attention

In every direction the leaves each became an individual piece of art as the colors seemed to each vie for attention

For both homeschool parents and any parent or adult who wishes for a way to interact with a teenager or young adult, I think the photo walks are a perfect opportunity.  They offer a chance to be artistic in their own outlet and while Oden has an actual camera most kids now have cell phones with cameras that can achieve amazing images. Build a list, borrow a list and go for a walk out the front door, take a short drive to a place you have never been or head out to a young person favourite place.  Let the hunt begin start your own blog, share on Facebook, or print up for the wall.

I encourage all my friends with kids old enough to not drop the tool they use to join us on our scavenger treks.  Thanks to Quitewalkphotogrphay and to Barnibee Photography for taking the time.

http://modernmountainschool.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/scavenger-hunt-3/

http://quietwalkblog.com/2014/09/27/scavenger-hunt/

https://www.facebook.com/barnibbephotography