Monday, December 31, 2012

December Snows

I spent the period of 20-29 December on the property. In 2012, I've managed to be there on both Equinoxes and both Solstices. I don't know why that seems significant, but I did plot where the sun rises on the horizon on each of these days. Astronomical dates such as the Equinox or Solstice are important because they have occurred since the beginning of our planet and mark important annual events.

We had lots of snow and even more wind. For three or four days, winds were steady at 20-30 mph, with gusts in the 50-60 mph range. Our house is set upon a promontory and is exceptionally exposed to the elements. The wind actually twists the house noticeably, which is unnerving until you get used to it. I always expect the house to take off like a spaceship and fly away like the house in The Wizard of Oz.

We had a large snowfall on the 26th of December, and our road drifted to more than 1' of snow. My new truck was pretty good in the snow, but it is going to take me some time to learn to drive this monster. Nicely, the tire chains I had for my old 4Runner fit the Chevy 2500 perfectly, and having chains on your vehicle dramatically improves maneuverability. It powered up our steep driveway through deep drifts.  This truck will prove to be quite an asset around the property/farm.

On Round Top at White Grass
By the time we returned from West Virginia, there was more than 12" of snow at the 4000 foot measuring stake at White Grass. I managed to get four really good days of cross-country skiing on some really beautiful snow. Despite the winds, it wasn't too bad skiing in the forested areas, and we got to see all our friends from Canaan Valley. The skiing was fantastic.

On Friday evening (the 28th), we had our traditional Christmas bonfire, and burned a good portion of the wood that used to be a tent platform from when we camped on the property. As our tradition dictates, we shared a bottle of Champagne by the fire, this year with some added peach syrup from the peaches I canned in July. Sort of a Bellini, I suppose. After the fire, we had dinner at White Grass with our friends Rick and Karen, where we shared a couple of bottles of wine from the new wine list that I helped the owner Laurie to design.

Not much "farm" work got done. While winter is here, I will need to prune the fruit trees and plan where we are going to put our new raised flower bed. There is also some planning that needs to be done for the garden, and we will use our past successes and failures to plan future plantings. Much of the timber that I felled late in the fall to improve sunlight on the garden has been cut up into 3' pieces and is stacked to dry. This will be our fuel for the wood stove over the winter of 2013-2014. Thankfully I now have a farm truck to haul this wood down from the garden to the house, rather than using the ATV and a small trailer.

More on fall and winter events at Dogs Run Farm will follow soon.

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