22 April 2013

Spring has arrived

Spring has come to Floyd but winter tried to linger. The temperatures at sunrise recorded on the farm:
Friday     61F
Saturday 35F
Sunday   29F

Mr. Fuzzy mowed both this Sunday and the prior Sunday. A week ago, I was sunburned mowing in my t-shirt at 83F; this Sunday I was mowing in a flannel shirt under a denim jacket and still chilled when the wind arose. There was a touch of frost in low places this Sunday but the fruit trees seem unharmed. The cherry trees are blooming in great abundance:

The first apple tree opened flowers today and the other apples trees are close behind. The Mutsu apple trees produce heavily every other year and this is the year - there will be plenty to eat, preserve and give away.

Ornamental cherry trees seem to prosper in the local conditions. This especially fine specimen is in front of the local newspaper's offices.

There are native trees in bloom all over the county.

This Saturday was the spring trash pickup by our loose-knit neighborhood association along Highway 221 from Slaughter's Grocery Store to Howell Creek, a distance of about five miles. Mr. Fuzzy and The Taciturn Yankee teamed up to work the most heavily trashed stretch; I cannae speak for  T. Y., but due to his sterling company, it was made a most enjoyable task. Here is a grandfather and grandson at work policing the roadside for trash. The Falling Branch community is strong and active, contributing to the area.

The tulips on the farm did not last long this year due to wind and cold nights but they were, as always, absolutely gorgeous during their reign. Mr. Fuzzy leaves you with this image to close this epistle.

16 April 2013

No more false alarms

Devoted Readers,

Last week the mercury climbed to 83F (28C) before turning cold once more. But Mr. Fuzzy and most of the denizens of Stratheden believe that winter has been banished for months. The trees are in full bloom and the native flowers are blooming. The chickens are so happy to walk on warm ground and to be dining on fresh, tender, newly hatched insects.

Mr. Fuzzy had a busy Saturday. In the morning, he attended the first in a series of food preservation classes sponsored by the home extension office. There are three or four more classes to the series and they must be all taken in sequence. There were two other activities that attracted Mr. Fuzzy that morn but if he missed the class, the next opportuity to take it would be too late in the autumn to can the garden's bounty. The class was informative and well taught with an overflow of students present.

Since he was already removed from the farm and the class ended at 1:00, the ravenous Mr. Fuzzy motored from town southward on state highway 8 to his favourite weekly lunch at Tuggle's Gap Restaurant, esconced on the very ridge of The Blue Ridge. Miss Cheri, the owner, lived in New Mexico and is well versed in a proper red chile sauce; the burritos are divine but they kitchen specially formulated huevos rancheros for your author. He was thoroughly delighted.

Returnrng to the farm fat and happy, the afternoon was passed ind desultory small farm tasks. A quick shower (indoors) followed in time to attend the Jacksonville Art Center's Second Saturday exhibit premier. This was a very well attended event and the quality of the art was perhaps the best yet shown there. Kudos to all involved, especially the horde of volunteers who keep the doors open.

Sunday afternoon Mr. Fuzzy spent almost five hours mowing on the farm, not to make the grass neat and scenic, but control nasty invasive species of wild roses, briars and blackberries. Because Mr. Fuzzy was down with double pneumonia last autumn, the normal October mowing did not occur; combined with a mild winter, newly germinated canes grew all winter. Although the mower is capable of cutting a very large diameter cane, the problem is the height. After the cane reaches more than perhaps a foot tall, as the mower passes above it, the cane is bent to the ground and may escape the three whirling blades only to whip back upright as soon as the rear tires have passed. Alas, some of these canes has attained heights of 4-6 feet and when they whipped back (and forth), it was rather like being scourged. The best technique is to drive with one hand and bend the other arm across the face to prevent a bloody smacking. The right arm took quite a number of thorns; both arms were badly sunburnt and remain yet most tender and easily inflamed. The Sears 26 horse power mower is a beast. Much like a Model T Ford, it is black not as luxurious as many brands but it goes in places that would cause Sears' legal department to have conniption fits. It often is engaged to pull a small wagon and perhaps is the handiest single object on the farm.

This missive is being closed by a view toward The Buffalo, the humped mountain in the distance, from the Jacksonville Burying Grounds, almost adjacent to the Art Center. The grounds are sited perfectly on a high hill above the village with a panoramic 360 degree view of the county. Perhaps it will give you, good reader, some sense of the topography and scenery of this gorgeous county. Remember, you may click on any photograph to enlarge it for more detailed examination.

04 April 2013

Snow, snow and snow

Mr. Fuzzy hopes ye readers do not become bored with his obsession about the weather conditions; remember that on a farm, the weather is paramount. This being the 4th day of April, two weeks into the season of Spring, it has snowed for the last five hours. Below is the weather radar at 6:40 p.m. and is in error because it is snowing here and should be shown as blue. The farm is located just below the intense red area...


And here is what it looked like from the old farmhouse late in the afternoon today-

And on  March 27th-

And on March 24th-

And on March 15th-

It has snowed more since mid-March than all winter long. Mr, Fuzzy and his neighbors are all confused. With each snow fall, we believe it to be the last and spring just around the bend. Now, on April 4th, we are beginning to wonder what the spring and summer will bring, and will it be as atypical as Spring has been thus far.

Mr. Fuzzy trusts that you and yours are warm and cozy in your cabins.