20 February 2012

Old Man Winter

What a surprise - the only real snowfall of the winter began Sunday morning and ended in the night sometime. About eight inches now blankets Stratheden Farm although, surprise, the forecast high for today is 50F. Mr. Fuzzy will let the sun clear the driveway rather than Mr. Fuzzy and the Ford tractor... There would have been more depth but the ground was warm and when the storm began, the air temperature was right at the freezing point. Had Sunday morning's reading been say 28F, another three or four inches would have accumulated.

Sunday about 4:00 p.m. snow was falling at a furious rate.

By sunset, about four or five inches had fallen.

And here are the views at sunrise this fine morn.

14 February 2012


The Creator sure has a sense of humor! Mr. Fuzzy's last post was on the subject of an abnormally early spring, with all things green erupting from the warming earth. Last Sunday morning, the mercury was stuck on 11F at sunrise, after a night of gale winds roaring through the forest. The chill factor was sub-zero. Sunday's high reading was 26F, still windy.

The arctic front began its onslaught early on Saturday. From 8:00 a.m. onward, the temperature dropped lower with each passing hour of the day - and with the high wind extracting any remaining warmth from the earth. As Mrs. Fuzzy discovered while departing for a few town errands about five o'clock that evening, egress from the farm was prevented by a 60 foot white pine tree laying across the driveway. Mr. Fuzzy fired up a chain saw and worked until the light faded but was unable to open the passageway.

On Monday morning, with chainsaw in hand, Mr. Fuzzy finished opening the track by finally removing the top half of the tree. However, the butt end of the tree, about thirty feet in length, remains above the road on the  steep hillside. This is a dangerous working situation as the trunk will be want to slide downward; it is very difficult to know which branches anchor it in place. Mr. Fuzzy will be very circumspect in whatever work will be done.

Since exiting Stratheden on Sunday was yet prevented by the blockage, the Fuzzies, with the consent of their neighbor, left the farm by way of his field. He had recently caused a first class fence to be erected, replacing an ancient fence long beyond any real service for its intended purpose. The new fence contained the addition of a strategically placed gate - which allowed the Fuzzies to join the normal Sunday breakfast crew at the Blue Ridge Cafe, without resorting to walking to town in subzero chill factor conditions. Huzzah for the gate!

04 February 2012

Floyd County Values

The Fuzzies attended the Friday night music at The Floyd County Store last eve. As usual, three bands play about an hour each, all for a $5.00 admission. The sequencing of the musicians is ordinarily (and so it was last night): Gospel, Old Time for dancing and Country Dance. Although the main draw for the Fuzzies was Janet Turner, a 70-something sliver haired local woman with the voice of an angel, the final band, The Jugbusters, was a wild romp of of a string band who sure knew how to lure folks on to the dance floor and keep them there.

But this is a digression from the topic at hand... Mr. Fuzzy is so very bad about that.

As the music & merriment was about to commence last night, before all else, a benediction was invoked. As best recalled: "Lord, thank you for bringing us together in brotherly love and affection to share our music, bless the Crenshaws for providing us this place, and we ask you deliver everyone here safely back to their homes. Amen." That's Floyd County - humble, thankful, succinct, inclusive, sincere.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to Mrs. Crenshaw (who I believe is English) - she and her husband own The Country Store. She related that an English couple in attendance one Friday night had told her about their eight week motorcycle tour of the United States. The tour was nearly over, they were headed tot he East Coast and thence back to Great Britain. She told Mrs.Crenshaw, "We spent eight weeks looking for America and didn't find it until we came to Floyd." Mr. Fuzzy says "amen" to that, and hopes he does not live long enough to see it ruined.

More kudos for Floyd County. You recall the recent link to the Smithsonian article? Lonely Planet, publishers of the Fuzzies' favourite travel guides, in their new release, 5 of the USA's Best Trips, begins with Virginia's Crooked Road. The Floyd Country store is one of the landmark stops on that road. Y'all come dancing, you hear?

02 February 2012

the word is: Green

Blessed readers, my apologies for slacking off so severely. You may both flog me at CLA in August...

Let it be clear that Mr. Fuzzy is not complaining in this post. Nor is he bragging. But he is content with the near total absence of winter this season. Yes, indeed, the mercury has kissed the 15F degree mark several times but never has it lounged about but instead sought to rise to higher goals. There were also few prolonged periods of lingering gray clouds. The Creator brought regular precipitation and the soil is thoroughly dampened at least a foot deep. The wee springs on the farm seem to have totally recovered from the severe stresses of the summer drought. For once, there may have been enough wood in the woodpile to last the cold nights (the new woodpile has just begun for next winter, all locust thus far). Several days have been in the high 50s recently although a moderation is due tomorrow (but still not freezing night temperatures).

The chicken have shown us in the last several days that insects are beginning to emerge from the ground. They have wandered further afield and are pursuing delectable dining with a cocky passion.

The flora of Stratheden are also breaking their winter sleep. Wild onions emerged a month ago and are now nearly to full size. The wild roses, always the first forest floor plant to leaf, is doing so. Cool season grasses, which barely entered dormancy, are not only green but growing rapidly. The iris in a sheltered position near a warm wall are half grown already!

This leaves Mr. Fuzzy in quite a dilemma given that today's date is February 2nd. The bulbs and rhizomes need to be fed very, very soon if the available nutrition is to arrive at the proper time of growth. Nonetheless, the odds of snow and a killing hard freeze are nearly certain. If the application is held for a fortnight, it will be too late. Is it better for the plants to be underfed and bloom poorly or receive good support and have their new growth all freeze dead? Regardless, it is safe to apply lime to balance the acid soil of the farm... and Mr. Fuzzy purchased bags of a new pelleted form today for immediate use.

Any sage advice regarding the Salvia?

You shall be receive prompt notification of any new weather conditions, fear not.