A break in the rain

When I headed out to do my rounds this morning, we were having a steady, heavy rainfall. I got completely soaked!

The rain did nothing to slow the mosquitoes down, of course. *sigh*

The rain kept falling for hours. It has stopped for now, so I made a quick check on how things are outside, and to see if an expected parcel got dropped off at the gate (it had not). The driveway is half under water again. The low area along the fence line on the north side of the driveway is a pond again, as is the spot in front of the outhouse, behind the garage. The grass hides most of it, but that whole east yard is under water.

People have been posting photos and video online, and I just had to call to check on my mother. The town she is in has been flooding. I have not been able to confirm, but I’ve heard they got about 5 inches – inches, not cm – of rain in 3 hours. That’s almost 14cm. In the news, I’ve heard that parts of the province are expected to get 15cm of rain, but that’s over the day, not in just a few hours! My mother told me that the lane behind her building is a river right now, and the front of her building is under water. Water had been leaking into their common room, too, but people had already been brought in to fix it. The photos I’m seeing posted online are amazing. Even with all the flooding we had this spring, this town did not get that sort of flooding!

We didn’t get anywhere near as much rain as where my mother is, though we got enough that there are areas of water in the paths around the low raised beds. Not so much that the ground level beds are under water, at least. Our squash, melon and potato beds are just very wet, but not in puddles, though there is some standing water in between the sweet corn. I just had to get a picture of the tomato bed in the main garden area. There are so many tomatoes on all the plants! The other tomato beds are also handling things well, and I’m starting to see Yellow Pear tomatoes starting to form. No Chocolate cherry, yet.

I very briefly spotted some kittens on the board pile. They seem to be quite okay with their kibble being softened by the rain. I didn’t try to do more than top up their kibble, as the clouds of mosquitoes along the edge of the spruce grove, where the board pile is, are pretty insane.

We are still under thunderstorm watch, though more for the southern areas than here, with possible hail and torrential rainfall. For us, we’ve still got high winds, but so far, just enough to flatten the hay I haven’t scythed yet, but not enough to take down branches or trees. At least not around the house and inner yard.

Checking the 30 yr record for our area, we are still pretty average. Nowhere near breaking any records for temperature or rainfall. I suspect my mother’s town may have broken some rainfall records today, though!

While we aren’t about to go anywhere soon, because of the condition of our own driveway, the spring flood damage on the roads around us have been almost completely repaired, so at least we will be able to get out, if we really need to. We’re doing quite all right, here, and for that, I am grateful.

The Re-Farmer

Weather warnings and why is that there?

Today has not been as hot as yesterday, which is greatly appreciated. We are, however…

… still under a severe weather watch.

Looking at the weather radar, it looks like the storm systems will pass to the north and south of us. Mostly to the south. Right over where my brother lives. 😦 As much as we are having issues with the wet, it’s merely an inconvenience, compared to how much the southern areas of our province have been walloped. If the radar is anything to go by (ha!), we might not even get rain tonight.

One can hope!

With the ground so saturated, I’ve been trying to regularly go into the old basement to sweep the water into the floor drain, or into the sump pump reservoir. Today, I decided I may as well take advantage of the situation and do some clean up. We now keep a broken hose (it’s missing the male coupling) down there on the regular, since it comes in so handy when clearing the pipe to the septic tank. I decided to use it to wash away any accumulated dust (muddy dust) and dirt in some areas. In particular, I wanted to try and get the space under the stairs. There is a shelf built under there, with less than a foot of clearance to the floor. I knew there was an old pump of some kind on the floor under there. Whenever I tried to sweep the water into the trough in the floor that leads to the sump pump, the water would be black.

While poking around under there, thinking I would push the old pump – possibly an old well pump, or a septic ejector pump – out from the other side, I discovered there was something stuck under the bottom step.

Also, I knocked over a class jar. Which turned out to be an old canning jar. The kind with the glass lids. It had its metal ring on it, but no glass lid. It was under there for so long, the metal ring is practically fused to the glass.

Then I found a couple more jars and bits of garbage. I got the old pump out, which turned out to be heavy enough I think at least parts of it are made of cast iron. I set it up so it wouldn’t be in water anymore, then found some sort of cast iron plate – a square with evenly spaced holes in it – that was under it.

The very old, very rusted paint can I found was unexpected. It was pretty full, too. Whether it’s paint or stain or something else that comes in that sort of can, I couldn’t tell.

After clearing the space and using the hose to wash things out a bit, it was time to figure out what was stuck under the bottom step.

It was a log.

It looks like a piece of birch. Firewood for the old furnace? My brother had bought a load of birch for my dad, as it burns slower and hotter than the wood he was using. It meant my dad didn’t have to load the furnace so often. Especially at night. That, however, was many years ago. My brother then got the electric furnace and set that up so that my father wouldn’t have to do those horrible stairs to load the furnace anymore at all, if he didn’t want to. It was set up so that, if the wood burning furnace died down, the electric would take over. Now, the wood burning furnace is unused and tied closed with wire, for insurance purposes. There hasn’t been firewood in that basement for years before we moved here.

In theory, it could have somehow ended up under there by accident, but considering the other stuff under there, plus where it is in relation to where the wood was kept, that is highly unlikely. I find myself wondering if perhaps it was shoved under there deliberately, to support the bottom step. If so, that means the step was breaking.

I left the log. Just in case!

I did get substantial areas of the basement hosed down, though, and they are looking much better. The other areas can’t be done, as things would need to be moved out of them, and that’s just not worth fighting with right now.

The water in the new part basement, however, is becoming a problem. I’m going to have to leave that job mostly for the girls, though. The end that has the most water accumulating on the floor also happened to be where most of the litter boxes are set up, and it’s becoming quite the mess. Things are starting to mold, too. Not good. Cleaning out that area is going to have to be done over several days, I think.

Hhhmmm. I’m watching the sky as I write this, and it’s getting dark out there. I used the hose outside to give all the bins we used to carry transplants in and out a wash, so I can lend them to my mother as she puts things away in preparation for her apartment to be treated for bed bugs. They’re spread out in the grass, drying. I think moving them into the sun room might be a good idea.

Just in case!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: protected… at least a bit

Today is supposed to get quite hot. At 6am, it was already 20C/68F, according to my phone’s app. (As I write this, it now says it’s 24C/75F out there, and it’s only just past 8:30am.) So the girls and I headed out to see what we could do to about covering the beds in the main garden area.

Not much left of that straw bale! 😀

The old sheets went on the shorter beds with hoops. We didn’t try to cover the ends, so there would still be air circulation. As for the longer beds, we went with the mosquito netting. It won’t really provide shade, but it’s more a protection from hard rain or hail.

The predictions for thunderstorms are all over the place. Yesterday, they were saying we might have thunderstorms and hail today. Now I’ve got one app telling me to watch for thunderstorms tomorrow evening, while another says to expect thunderstorms on Friday – almost a week from now! A third app on my desktop has simply stopped connecting for some reason, but if I go to the website, it’s saying to watch for severe thunderstorms overnight, with tornado warnings for the south end of our province. !!! Also, the expected high of 31C/88F is now up to 35C/05F/.

While we were outside, however, it didn’t feel that hot. The thermometer on the bean tunnel read about 15C/59F while my app was still saying 20C/68F. The breeze certainly helped, but it is very humid, so we were sweating off our bug spray in no time! Still, the raised beds got a watering before we put the covers on, to help keep them cooler. The ground is still so wet, any ground level beds don’t need water. Especially anything mulched with straw.

Well, we’ll see what we actually get!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: ground cherry, popcorn and we surrender!

The rain held off this afternoon, so I headed out to where we finally decided to transplant the ground cherries.

After thoroughly dousing myself with mosquito repellant!!

This spot by the compost heap has been covered with that sheet of metal for about 2 years. The metal was placed there as something to put grass clippings on top of, so they’d be easier to collect and use later on.

Isn’t it amazing that, even while under metal, things were still trying to grow under there? !!

The soil was so soft under there, I could easily push the garden fork deeper than the length of the tines, and probably could have gone deeper if I’d wanted to. The ground was also pretty saturated, so it was muddy work to loosen the soil and pull out any roots – including some thoroughly rotted roots from the old tree stump under the compost pile nearby! No watering needed after they were planted, that’s for sure. In fact, I’m a bit concerned it might be too wet for them. We shall see.

The groundcherries got a good mulch with some of the grass clippings I had to move off the sheet of metal in order to move it. Here, they can be left to self seed, and hopefully we’ll get them year after year. We’ll just have to make sure they don’t spread too far and become invasive, which I’ve heard some people have had problems with.

The sheet of metal, meanwhile, is now sitting on top of the tall grass and weeds next to the ground cherries, weighted down with rocks to keep it from blowing away. Hopefully, it will help keep the crab grass and other weeds from invading the ground cherries.

When my daughter came out to help, we went looking through all the garden beds, talking about what needed to be done in each, before she started working on where we decided to plant our corn.

First, she dug a fairly narrow trench for the Tom Thumb popcorn, between the green patty pans and the Boston Marrow. These have a slightly longer growing season – 85-90 days – so we wanted to get them in first.

After she dug the small trench, she moved to the space between the Boston Marrow and the Lady Godiva pumpkins. There’s more space there, and it’s where we will be planting the Latte corn, which needs only 65 days to maturity, and bush beans.

While she worked on that trench, I used the hand cultivator to loosen up the smaller trench, pulled out the bigger rocks, and as many weed roots as I could. Then it got a layer of shredded paper, and finally a about 1 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of garden soil was added. I also removed the divots of sod and dumped them under some trees. They are so full of roots and rocks, it wasn’t worth the time to try and salvage any of the soil.

The Tom Thumb popcorn only grows to about 4 feet. The instructions said to plant them 5 or 6 inches apart, and in rows 36 inches apart, in blocks of at least 4 rows.

Obviously, we didn’t do that.

What we did do was plant two rows, with all the seeds about 6 inches apart. Once the soil was ready, my daughter had finished removing sod in the other area, so I just went down the prepared row, poking pairs of holes into the soil while my daughter went along behind me, dropping the little bitty corn seeds in! 🙂

I’m glad we got those planted, because the next job was a killer.

In the second space, I went over it with the hand cultivator to get some of the bigger rocks out, and the more obvious roots. There’s just no way we could get rid of all the roots. While I worked on that, my daughter used one of the old, busted up wheelbarrows to get grass clippings. A full recycling bag of shredded paper went into the bottom, then grass clippings got scattered over the paper.

After dumping the remaining soil in the wheelbarrow in, my daughter went to get more soil with the good wheelbarrow, while I used the old one to remove the divots of sod.

I was reminded of just how badly broken up that old thing was! I’m amazed we got away with using it for as long as we did. In the end, I had to switch to the other old wheelbarrow. It’s smaller and also busted up, but at least it didn’t try to tip over every time I dropped a piece of sod in it, or roll away!

After a while, however, my daughter was waving the white flag. It was pretty hot, and very humid. For all the bug spray we used, we were just sweating it right off. The mosquitoes were after my daughter more than me (I reapplied bug spray, several times!), and after all the back breaking labour of removing sod, she was just done.

After she escaped the clouds of mosquitoes, I managed to move some more of the sod – using the good wheelbarrow! – before switching to getting a couple more loads of soil, and that was it. I surrendered, too! I think we did manage to get half of the area covered with fresh garden soil. The other half will probably need at least 4 – 6 more loads of soil, depending on how full the wheelbarrow is. It’s a fair distance to haul the soil from the pile in the outer yard, and we have to go around through the smaller person gate, rather than the closer vehicle gate, because there’s water there again, so we can’t get away with over filling it.

It’s a good thing the Latte corn and the bush beans we will be planting with them don’t need a lot of time to grow, because we probably won’t be able to work on this area tomorrow, and not just because I’m driving my mother to another medical appointment. We’re supposed to start raining again tonight, with thunderstorms over the next two days – complete with overland flow flooding alerts! I’ll be using my mother’s car to drive her. Hopefully, that one patch on the road near our place will stay solid enough by the time I am coming home, that her little car will get through. Anyhow; with the expected weather, we might not be able to finish this area and plant the Latte corn for several days.

By the time we’re done in this area, it will be quite intensely planted. Between that and the straw mulch we intend to add, I’m hoping that should keep the weeds down. Before that gets done, we’ll have to remove the rest of the sod and the piles of rocks scattered about.

It would have been much easier if we could do the carboard and straw like we did for the potato beds, but we just don’t have the carboard for that. We could get more later on, but we really wanted to get these in as quickly as possible. This will be the last direct sown seeds, besides any successive sowing we might do for a fall harvest.

This is also about as close as we’re getting to the “three sisters” method of planting. Hopefully, doing it this way will have the same benefits as the more traditional way. The only real problem I foresee is being able to access the bush beans to harvest them, when everything is all grown in. If we focus on putting the corn in the middle and the beans on the outside, we should be able to reach them okay. It’ll be trying to walk around the Boston Marrow and hulless pumpkins that will be more of a challenge, I think! With the Tom Thumb corn, it will be less of an issue, since they won’t be harvested until the cobs are completely dry on the stalk. Once the mulch is down, there’s not going to be much more needed for them.

If nothing else, this will be a learning experience.

And an experience in humility, as we get driven away by hoards of mosquitoes, trying to eat us alive!

I’m now going to go borrow my husband’s bath chair and shower off the smell of insect repellant now!

The Re-Farmer

Budding

I was so distracted by a conference call I had to make this morning, I completely forgot to schedule today’s Recommended post! I will post it tomorrow and be back to Mondays and Fridays after that.

I did make sure to feed the critters before the conference call, since I had no idea how long it would be.

The cats are much more laid back out the food and take their time coming out, even though the kibble trays were empty. Clearly, they are no longer as hungry as they were when it was still cold out. I only saw 8 cats in total this morning, which means we are “missing” about 10 cats. I know some, like Potato Beetle and Broccoli, will come by later, but others have not been seen in weeks.

After the conference call was done, I went back out to do the rest of my morning rounds. One of the fun things now on the list is checking on the tulip patch. Look what showed up overnight!

Whole bunches of them now have flower buds!

We will have to keep a close eye on them. This is the stage last year, when something ate all the flower buds. We still have some rope barriers and distractions, like bells and spinny, sparkly things, around it that seems to be keeping the deer away (I can see their hoof prints in the mud, going past it), but there’s nothing to stop any small critters.

It’s a chilly and overcast day today, and the crocus flowers are mostly closed, but I was seeing more of the purple ones again.

The first wonderberry in the sun room has started blooming again, and the younger two are covered in clusters of buds. I gave up pinching off the buds; there were just too many to keep up with! We still haven’t even found a spot for them, yet. As they readily self seed, it has to be someplace they can be treated as perennials.

I did try to peak into the cats’ house to see the babies. What I saw were two adult cats so wrapped around each other that, aside from their heads, I couldn’t tell one from the other. It did seem that both were nursing kittens, but I couldn’t really tell. I’d love to be able to get those windows cleaned on the insides; they are quite smeared from the cats rubbing up against them all winter, but we aren’t going to open that roof right now.

As for the conference call, it was to set a new trial date for our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me. It turns out the previous date was cancelled because the judge got sick. When it was cancelled, we received an email with alternate dates; three early ones, two in May, one in June, all in the city, or three late ones, one in November, two in December, at where we have been going for my retraining order application against our vandal. The only time we had to go to court in the city was for court mediation. I left something like an hour earlier than necessary, and still ended up late. The area is a disaster to navigate. Meanwhile, our vandal didn’t even show up. Just his lawyer was there.

He doesn’t seem to have any lawyer for this one. He has no case, so I doubt any civil lawyer would take it, though when it came up during court mediation, his criminal lawyer did say he’d be willing to represent, if asked, but he hadn’t been asked.

These conference calls run through a docket and, in the past it has taken a while, but this time we were the first ones called. After clarifying that we were there to set a new trial date, and asking if we wanted to attend in person or by video call (which neither of us can do), the clerk spent some time searching and found one date in August. After clarifying that it was at our usual location, I said I was good with any date at that location. Our vandal, as I expected, jumped in and asked if it could be done in the city, and brought up the date he’d chosen before – which he knew I couldn’t do. He said he just wanted to get it over with. Ha!

Anyhow.

The clerk told him it had be be where the “cause of action” was taken, and couldn’t be done in the city unless one of us lived there, or if we both agreed to it. He said he hadn’t known that. Then she said that the August date was the ONLY one that had an open slot we could take. So he had no choice but to accept the date the court gave us. Which is pretty much what I’d suggested be done when I tried to take the November date in the original email exchange, because I knew he’d never accept any date I chose. For me, it wasn’t so much about the date, but the location, so of course our vandal tried to choose the other location! With so many files being delayed over and over, the next available date likely would have been next year.

The main thing is, it’s done and we have a new date. Barring more crazy stuff happening, as it has since all this started back in late 2020, I look forward to a judge throwing it his case out in August.

At this point, even if we were able to do a May date more locally, I still wouldn’t be sure if I could make it. Our vandal may have vehicles that can get through the washouts, but we don’t, and those washouts might just get worse. The predicted rain started while I was writing this, and was coming down pretty hard for a while. We’re still getting weather alerts, and now they’re saying we might be getting 3.5 – 5.5cm (about 1 1/2 – 2 inches) at times. The Overland Flow Flood warning now reads:

High amounts of rainfall occurring in a short period could create overland flooding in these areas which may impact low lying areas, roads, and properties. As the ground is extremely saturated, a sudden rise in water levels could occur in some waterways and creeks Residents along these areas are cautioned about the potential sudden rise of water levels. Follow all directions by local authorities. Listen for updates and take all necessary precautions to stay safe.

We aren’t near any waterways, unless you count the municipal drainage ditches, but the washouts we already have will likely get worse. We’re supposed to get a couple of warm sunny days next, then two more days of light rain again. At least now, the 14 day forecast shows a week of sun before we are supposed to get rain again. For us, around the house and the inner and outer yards, that mostly just means more mud. The areas low enough to collect water are not a threat to any buildings we’re actually using. We are okay. I’m concerned about some of our neighbours, though. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Is this for real??

While I was in the city today, I got an alert on my phone.

A weather alert.

Can you believe this?

We’re nowhere near the border, so it is unlikely to affect us, but my goodness, we could really use a break! Yeah, we still need the moisture, but not all at once!

The city is largely snow free right now, other than the hills from clearing the roads. The river is about as high as I’ve ever seen it, except during one of those “flood of the century” events that happen rather more often then that. Some fields on the outskirts of the city were completely flooded as far as I could see.

The potholes were merciless.

Coming home, there was a rather dramatic, if gradual, change from open fields and water, to more snow and ice and water. The worst part of the drive, though, was the main gravel road from the highway. It was bad in the morning, but so much worse by the time I got home. With so much weight in the van, I was slowing down to a crawl, trying to avoid potholes as much as possible. Which really wasn’t possible. It ware more like navigating a path that was the least destructive to my suspension! From the tire tracks in the muck, I could tell many other vehicles had done the same. I had seriously considered taking a different route, but it would have added an extra mile of gravel road, and I wasn’t sure if one particular spot was washed over or not. I didn’t want to take a chance.

The sad part is, I’m going to have to do this again in a couple of days. I didn’t get everything we’ll need for the month. Too many heavy things.

But I will talk about that in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Seriously???

A couple of “seriously???” moments.

The first is the flippin’ weather!

That “special weather statement”?

We’ve got another Colorado Low building up again. The Dakotas, southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northwestern Ontario – even the central region we are in – are expected to be hit with possible 25-50cm/10-20in of snow over the weekend. Plus freezing rain. As if the snow wasn’t enough.

It does have the disclaimer that “Colorado Lows are notoriously difficult to predict” and to keep a close eye on local forecasts, but still… sheesh.

If the court date had not been cancelled, I would have been running errands while in the area. I’ll be heading out again today, anyhow, and hopefully find more big bags of dry cat food.

Speaking of court dates…

I was told on the phone that our vandal had picked two dates that worked for him; one in May in the big city, and one in November, in the smaller, nearer city. After talking to my brother, who needs to book the day off work to attend as my witness, we chose the November date.

Then I got an email saying our vandal chose the May date, while we chose the November date, and were told to come to an agreement on one of the other dates. After talking about it with my brother, we went with the earlier December date, but we figured our vandal wouldn’t accept that. When I responded to the court clerk, I mentioned being told our vandal had picked the two dates, and that’s why we chose the November one. I mentioned why we wanted the closer location and longer time frame, mentioned the December date, adding that I didn’t think our vandal would agree to it. I suggested the court simply assign us a date, and we’ll just have to work with that. It’s a shame the court didn’t have any summer or fall dates available.

The clerk responded to my email, adding our vandal to the response, saying that since we couldn’t agree on a date (I suspect our vandal already responded as well), we now have a May teleconference date specifically to set a trial date. At least for that, my brother should be able to book a meeting room at work and not have to take the entire day off. :-/

What a pain. And I know full well our vandal is just f**** with us out of spite. 😦

Ah, well. We’ll deal with whatever happens.

The Re-Farmer

Storm Status, and Easter baking

Well, it’s certainly snowing and blowing enthusiastically, out there!

That hasn’t stopped the birds from enjoying the suet feeder.

The driveway is so white right now, it’s messing with the camera’s ability to “see” it, making for some interesting rings of colours on there.

I took this screencap of the weather app on my desktop, just minutes ago. According to this, the worst is still yet to come. It is still conflicting with what’s showing on the weather radar.

Well, it will be what it will be. My main concern is with the high winds, of course. When this is over, we’ll have to do a walk-about to see if any more dead trees have come down, or what branches have fallen.

From the looks of the weather radar, the most severe conditions are hitting the US, as the system sweeps across the Eastern states. I hope those of you living in those states are keeping safe!

While it’s snowing and blowing, we got some bread baking done.

A two-loaf recipe was divided into four small loaves. The prettiest one will be for our Easter basket.

Since I was baking bread anyhow, I made a batch of oatmeal bread, also divided into four small loaves instead of two regular loaves. That way, we get a loaf each. 😀

I’m looking forward to having one of them with a big bowl of chili, once it cools down enough. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Incoming

Man, monitoring this storm has been just a wild world of confusion.

I have a weather widget on my phone that has animated weather in the background to match current conditions. When I looked at it, first thing this morning, it was snowing. Opening the app, there was a message saying heavy snowfall will continue for at least an hour and a half.

What was out my window?

Nothing. Not a flake in the sky.

The edge of the storm was supposed to reach us around 3am, with blizzard conditions by 10am. We had no snow at all last night.

Looking at the weather radar, we had that remarkable bubble over our area again. The storm’s edge was swirling around us, but not on us.

Yet.

So I quickly bundled up and headed outside to do my morning rounds – spotting two deer walking through the West yard when I got into the sun room.

The sun room seems to have stayed just above freezing overnight. The Wonderberry, which is by itself at one window, where it’s colder, seems to be doing just fine. I did move it away from the window a bit more. It’s not going to get much light today, anyhow, and the closer to the window it is, the colder it is.

By the time I got outside, the first flakes were starting to fall. The winds were already quite high, though, so it was no surprise that only a few cats came out for food. I did move a small dish of food just inside the entrance to their cat house, though. Potato Beetle was the only cat in there when I started putting the food out. As overcast as it is, the light sensor on the timer should be triggered to turn on the ceramic heat bulb, so it should be nice and warm in there.

In the time it took me to put feed out for the birds and deer, put the container back in the sun room, and come back around the corner on my way to the sign cam, there were at least 4 deer at the feeding station already. They got startled and ran off into the trees, so I’m not sure, exactly.

It didn’t take them long to come back!

Snow was starting to come down a bit harder by the time I very quickly did my morning rounds. Those winds, though! We’ll have to keep an eye out for falling branches and trees. As I sit here, writing this post, I can watch the snowfall increase and the visibility drop on the garage cam live feed. The driveway and paths that had been exposed ground are now white with snow.

The weather alerts have changed, of course. The south of us is getting the brunt of the storm. The system is splitting up and swirling in two directions; the snow is being pushed to the northwest, across Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while the rain is being pushed to the east, across Ontario and Quebec. The rain part of the system looks like it’s going to be more severe than the snow part.

The alert is now saying that south of us is getting the brunt of the storm basically now, but not as much snow as expected. Our area is supposed to now get the brunt of the storm tonight and into tomorrow.

Except.

As I watch the weather radar, it looks like we’ll still be getting the brunt of the storm… now, bascially, and over the next couple of hours. Then it looks like it’s clearing up. The system should be clear of our area, continuing North and West, by about 3:30pm.

If I look at the hourly forecast, this afternoon will actually have wet flurries, but where I earlier saw predictions of 5-10cm/2-4in in one hour, over a couple of hours, I’m now seeing ~1cm or >1cm every hour through Thursday.

That’s with The Weather Network.

AccuWeather is telling me we are having “heavy snow” right now (it’s snowing, but I’d still call it flurries at the moment), while the hourly forecast is saying much the same as the other; about a centimeter – less than half an inch – per hour. The “looking ahead” note says “A snowstorm continuing into Friday morning with blizzard conditions today and storm total accumulations for 40-60cm.” This is supposed to be for our area, not the entire region the storm is crossing.

A lot of mixed messages.

So…

I look out the window, or watch the garage cam.

The snow is definitely getting heavier, though still nowhere near what I would call “heavy snow”. In past storms we’ve had this winter, when we have heavy snow, the garage cam gets whited out. We’re not there yet.

I’m watching the maple branches outside my window, and when those gusts hit, you can really tell!

But we are safe and warm inside, the outside cats are fed and should be cozy in their favorite hidey holes about the property by now.

Yesterday, we started pickling eggs for our Easter basket. Today, my goal is to bake the Easter bread.

For now, though, it’s a good time for another cup of strong, black tea!

The Re-Farmer

Receding, and signs of spring

The area is still on blizzard watch. Everything looks fine right now, and we’re only a couple of degrees below freezing. Looking at the weather radar, the system is crossing the Canada/US border, but it’ll be a while before anything reaches as far as we are now.

According to The Weather Network’s hourly forecast, we’re supposed to start getting snow around 3am, and the blizzard will reach us by 10am. What I’m seeing on the weather radar, however, doesn’t seem to match up with the alarming alerts we are still getting. My phone app’s “looking ahead” still claims we will reach an accumulation of 40-60cm/15-24in of snow in our region, but looking at the hourly forecasts on both apps, it just doesn’t at up. I added up just the hours that were under “blizzard” conditions, since the hours before and after that time slot showed under 1cm/0.4in. Using the highest amount forecast, I only got about 15cm/6in in total.

I don’t think a lot of people are looking at the hourly forecasts and adding it up, though. The alerts are telling people to expect an extreme blizzard and to stock up now. My mother called me today and told me that some of the folks in her building had gone to the grocery store, where they described standing in line outside for 20 minutes, just to get through the door – and there are no occupancy restrictions right now. Even when people were all panic buying in 2020, they didn’t have line ups like that out here. Meanwhile, in the city, my SIL told me they’d gone to Costco yesterday and described it as busier than the week before Christmas.

Well, you can’t go wrong by stocking up, as long as people aren’t panic buying. There’s a difference between prudence and ridiculousness!

When I headed outside this evening, while there was still enough light out, you would never know there’s supposed to be a storm coming. Though we only reached a high of -1C/30F today, it was still warm enough for things to keep clearing up outside.

The snow has finally receded enough that I was able to get to, and clean up, this pile of fallen dead branches that conveniently fell near piles of branches waiting for the chipper.

Before I’d gone out, I saw some deer on the garage cam’s live feed, so it was no surprise when I saw our usual three visitors, including the piebald, just past the chain link fence. I’ve no doubt the piebald was heading to the kibble house or shrine for some snacks! All the trays were empty, though, so after I startled away the three deer in the outer yard…

… and the one by the outhouse…

… then the other two at the feeding station by the house!

… I refilled the kibble trays. The cats were quite happy for it!

So was the skunk I had to persuade to leave the tray under the shrine, later on.

I took a closer look at this area in the old hay yard, near the driveway. This low spot is not as deep as it used to be, from what I remember as a kid. It was more like a small pond or dugout. I remember being able to skate on the ice. The darker areas showing where water is accumulating under the snow is larger than it was when I went by this morning, and probably the largest I’ve seen it since we moved out here.

This is where we would eventually like to have someone come in and dig it deeper for us, and have an actual pond again. Not too far away is where we plan to build our permanent fire pit area and outdoor kitchen, as well as comfortable – and sheltered! – seating areas.

I will be very happy when we can finally take out the old fencing.

That’s a few years into the future, though.

I saw deer making their way along the south side of the spruce grove again, so I headed that way to discourage them. The snow has cleared enough that I could finally check the damage to that poor little cedar we found while cleaning up the area. I could only see it from the driveway before, but it looked like the deer had eaten every bit of green on it. Which they had.

Much to my surprise, it’s still alive!

It’s sending out fresh shoots!

We’ll have to put something around it to protect it from the deer.

I even checked what was left of the mulberry tree we planted last spring, only to have that one cold night in May kill it off. I would still water the dead stem, just in case, throughout the summer, but the deer ate that, too. There’s only about 6 inches left of it sticking out of the ground. Oddly, I find myself thinking it might send out new shoots, too. It just doesn’t seem as brittle as I would expect, if it were truly dead. It’s highly unlikely, but… well, that cedar was well chewed up, and it’s surviving!!

What I really appreciated was seeing this.

This area had been almost completely under water, not long ago. Even just this morning, I was walking through a couple of inches of water. It has all been absorbed!

The lowest spot behind the garage has also receded significantly. It no longer reaches even half way up the path to the outhouse.

This is so encouraging. All that wonderful moisture being absorbed into the ground, instead of washing away. This will be much benefit to the water table.

Any snow we get from the oncoming storm would be just as helpful. While I certainly don’t want to see the sort of destructive blizzard that is being predicted, and God knows we’re all pretty tired of the snow, the area has been low in precipitation since before we moved out here, and it takes a lot for the water table to recover.

Well, we’ll see what happens when it happens!

The Re-Farmer