Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Winter Walk


Up until this winter, the coldest thermometer reading I've ever seen is -19. Once. On December 30th, the thermometer read -27 and it got worse from there. We've had 4 days off of school due to the cold (I enjoyed those!) plus 2 more for snow, and I've been in wind chills in the -40s. There have been more days below zero this year than above. Some days, the high was negative. The high! I now know that I could survive winter in Alaska, because at a certain point, you stop caring what the temperature is and just keep putting coats on. 

With the weather the way it's been, we haven't done many things outside. Getting the snowmobiles running has been low on the list, somewhere behind plow the driveway, keep the wood stove going, and avoid frostbite, so today the weather was a little warmer, and we wanted to do something to take advantage of it. Not to mention do something that would wear the puppy out. So, we decided to showshoe!

The fella has had a pair of snowshoes for a few years, and a few weeks ago we went on a candlelight snowshoe walk with a local rod and gun club. I had to borrow a pair, and it was the first time I had ever used them. It's way easier than it seems, and even a klutz like me was able to walk upright (I can't say the same for this walk, but that's fine). First of all, the candlelight walk was one of the coolest things that I've done. It was on one of the rare nights this year that the temperature was in the 20s, the light from the battery operated candles lit a path through the snow-covered woods, and a friend brought glow sticks, so we walked with the faint glow of greens, blues, and purples from our wrists.

Today, we set out for the family farm after playing around the yard with Daisy.

I love when she flips the Frisbee up and the snow flies in her face!

After some Frisbee throwing and an attempted snow angel (mine, not Daisy's), we set off on our adventure. 

The fella took the lead first as we followed the snowmobile trail to the spot where we veered off and took on the woods.

Once we left the trail, walking became a little more difficult, so we took turns breaking trail, which is harder than it looks. The snowshoes are awkward as it is, add high-stepping into calf deep snow and enter thigh pain. The fella's trail was much better than mine which looked like "Sasquatch got drunk." His words, not mine!

A beautiful cloudless sky :)
Once we got to the tent that we have set up and knocked off all of the accumulated snow, we headed back home. On the way back, we used the snowmobile trail which made for much easier, not to mention downhill, walking. Winter's not so bad when there are things to do besides wasting away inside!

Now, I'm going to go put on another sweater...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Garden Preparation

In order to survive the bitterly cold winter we've been having looking towards spring is an invaluable survival technique. I have been looking forward to having a real garden for years, but our situation-renting and/or moving-made it nearly impossible to start on-time or be around to reap the benefits of our labor. This is the first time that we'll be ready to start a garden in the spring and be in the same place to harvest. I can't wait!

Vegetables from our first garden when we lived in Wisconsin 2 years ago. The green pepper plant moved with us to Idaho only to be killed by my brown thumb :(

This year, I have time to plan and start seeds and lovingly tend, and I am thrilled. I started doing research in earnest today, because as a novice when it comes to anything beyond throwing seeds in the ground, maybe watering a few times, and plucking weeds here and there, I've pretty much just waited and kept my fingers crossed. This year will be different.

Part of the research I'm doing is about what plants to start inside and when. We have an office that's horribly cluttered with things we haven't found a place for, but once it gets cleaned out will be a perfect place to start seeds since it's south-west facing and gets tons of sun throughout the day. We've been saving egg cartons as a place to start the seeds, but I'm considering just buying a starter kit, for this year at least. Starter kits come with seed trays, a water reservoir, self-watering mat, and other features, including a greenhouse top to hold in humidity while the seeds germinate (I didn't know this this morning. It's amazing what a little internet research will do!)

I'll keep updating as we go through the process of planting and watering and watching and harvesting. I have big dreams of creating a wildflower garden (to use at our wedding reception), too. I tend to jump into things head first with no regard to how much work it will be. No baby steps for me (unless you're talking about Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Plan and then baby steps it is!). In my head, I see beautiful gardens surrounding the house and a porch to be envied with chairs and tables I've made from pallets (that don't exist yet) and bright pots full of easily accessible herbs for cooking and tea. I want to can salsa and pickle zucchini and beans. I want to go the summer and into fall without buying vegetables and maybe have enough preserved to last through winter. Now I just have to wait for the snow to melt and for the temperatures to accommodate human life again!