Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Break From Logging

Wednesday December 17, 2014

32.4°  here on the mountain this morning. It's been raining since just after midnight.The trees that have been hanging on to life for a week are now beginning to succumb to the weight of the ice and snow and branches are snapping. When the big pines and maples lose a limb, it's with a snap as loud as a rifle shot from nowhere.

The feller buncher is quiet today as the roads have been too icy for the log trucks to make it here. Our piles of logs, each separated by size, wood species and intended mill lay covered in snow and needing to get on their way before we stack more. No sense in moving things twice.

There are a couple day's worth of logs in the woods that need to come out by grapple skidder to be processed but that will happen when the current piles are moved along.

I didn't go too far into the woods today as the walking is difficult with trees down everywhere. Most are just a nuisance like the small ones pictured below but they have to be moved to keep the whole processe moving smoothly. Today is very smooth as nothing is happening. Probably tomorrow if the ice doesn't get too thick this afternoon.

I have some clean up work to do outside, first hand shoveling and roof raking and then some work with the tractor. By then it will be 1 PM and with a little luck I can get to Plainfield and get some more diesel for the tractor. Whatever you do today, be safe as people are out and about shopping and sometimes shopping lists receive more attention than driving. Be safe!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the mourning doves are now chasing the blue jays off the platform feeders. Neat to  watch!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
On Facebook as George Africa; Like as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens
Always here to help you grow your green thumb!

Very nice gift certificates available by calling Gail at 802-426-3505

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snowy Crabapples

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Today is the third day of snow here in the east. It was not a surprise storm as it had been followed for well over a week with computer models sugaring off to pretty much what we received. Here on the mountain above Peacham Pond it was difficult to verify actual accumulations because the storm changed so much. Tuesday night at 7 PM the snowflakes were like half dollar coins and they fell so quickly they messed up the television reception. That night snow accumulated quickly and was at 6" around midnight but by 3 AM it was raining so hard that the snow started to compact.

Yesterday it was more of the same with a high around 33° and a mix of snow in the morning, then rain in the afternoon. I had an appointment in Montpelier at 3:30 and when I finished about 5 there were inches of water on the Barre Montpelier Road. Today snow fell lightly at the house as I finished shoveling the last of the roof. At times the rain came back and now as I write the temperature has fallen to 27.5°, the lowest since Monday.

22,000 customers are without power in Vermont right now. That's nothing like the problems in California. If the wind were to start up and simply reach 5 mph, the Vermont number could double in a few hours. The trees like the crab apple pictured above are covered with a snowy mix, frozen tightly to the branches. Even without the wind,  a step outside greets me with the sound of cracking branches and falling limbs. The white birches are a mess and will never recover from their new configurations where limbs touch the ground instead of reaching skyward.

The storm has brought many birds to the feeders. Doves (consistently numbering 22), white and also red breasted nuthatches, chickadees, hairy and downy woodpeckers, and redpolls in large numbers are here every day. What is strange is that the initial population of evening grosbeaks left after a couple weeks and the Bohemian waxwings which usually follow robins eating the crab apples--they never came at all this year. Irruptions are like that and I shouldn't come to expect them knowing that an irruption is just that--a temporary event related to local food supply. 

The large sugar maple that I dropped in a heap this fall had been visited regularly by all the woodpeckers. The flickers of course already headed for warmer climates but the pileated woodpeckers that loved the food source have moved over the hill to a standing sugar maple orchard and the other woodpeckers come mainly for suet but in lesser numbers now.

Yes, weather changes our lives as well as the behaviors of the animals from surrounding habitat. It will be colder in a few more days and I expect more birds will come to visit and probably stay for the winter. We'll see. Check your feeders and don't forget the Cornell Christmas Bird Count which is going on right now.

Writing from the mountain above Peachan Pond where the quiet, windless night is now at 26.7°

Best wishes!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
On Twitter as vtflower farm
On LinkedIn as George Africa
On Facebook as George Africa
On Facebook as a Like Page: Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens
And always here to help you grow your green thumb!
Gift certificates available for all seasons! 802-426-3505

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

23.1° this morning, windless, quiet. 30 degrees warmer than yesterday at the same time. Big storm arriving by noon today and apparently sticking with us into tomorrow, maybe even Thursday.

If you enjoy reading this blog, especially during cold winter days, you might like to take a quick look at some pictures on Pinterest. Same board name as here--The Vermont Gardener. Send questions if you have any. Most plants I feature are available at the flower farm. Our business email has changed to:

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where I think I hear one of the log trucks coming down the hill. Our logging project continues in our quest for better forests and better wildlife habitat. Hope the truck makes it to the mill ahead of today's bad weather.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens
Personal FB page George Africa with lots of pictures/comments
LinkedIn as George Africa

#vermont; #gardenchat; #agchat; #pinterest; #logging; #wildlife;