Friday Mornings Waiting for the Snow

I think the weather gods heard me call this winter “a pathetic excuse for a winter”.

Now there is 8 inches of heavy wet snow in the forecast for this afternoon. Actually a mix of rain and snow. Which means heavy slush. Joy. Then there will be a sharp rise in temps and heavy MUD.

But – sowing the last of the grass seed before the last fall of snow is golden.

So, yesterday afternoon I sent Our John (the farmhand) out to sow the wild wetlands. We have a few marshy areas across the way that we don’t put into crops. John did a controlled burn of the old grasses (mimicking a natural burn and being careful not to burn our trees) earlier in the winter.

Yesterday he went over to plant a mixture of prairie grasses out there. But it is too wet. Because of this wet winter. Sigh. All the plans of mice and men. He was able to sow some but not all.

You will remember that this farm was a swamp a hundred years ago – Johns great great something drained it. I have mixed feelings about that – they were slash and burn farmers in those days.

I have a feeling that with the changes we are seeing in the climate this farm is going to get wetter. And yes! I am going to be doing rice trials this year. On a small scale. We need to move with the changes. We cannot fight them now.

Winter grass in two thirds of screen with two leafless winter trees, screen right. haze of emerging wheat Screen Right. Cloudy sky above.  Farm buildings far in the distance.

Managing a sustainable home in the middle of an old swamp is not always easy. Suffice to say; I never go in the basement of this house any more. The swamp likes to drain straight in there. And it has become the sole realm of The Farmhand. Full time working means I can barely keep up with my above ground housework!

Some of our Fellowship Forest Trees.

Two cows behind a fence. Screen left a black cow. Screen right a cream coloured cow. Dried winter grass in the foreground. Leafless winter trees to either side of the cows. Cloudy winter sky above.

With their cow guardians.

We are now waiting on two calves – Bobbies (from the same farm these two arrived from) and two piglets – Plonkers from a new organic farmer in our cohort.

I am looking forward to ending this online teaching. Sitting all day is not my thing! I am a physical actor! I want to farm and chat with you!

Today I have a couple of breaks in my teaching day so I have started some bread. I will bake it in my new coffee cans!

Part of designing a sustainable lifestyle is opportunism. Do you agree? Coffee tins = bread tins!

The rain has begun! The snow will come later. Then will come ice then MUD!

I will send this out into the world then get back to classes.

Have a lovely day.

Pop into the Lounge of Comments – I love to chat!


Lynda knows all about mud. We laugh about Mud Season often!! As we sink up to our hocks in our gumboots. .

43 Comments on “Friday Mornings Waiting for the Snow

  1. Pouring rain here in the Blue Ridge & still warm. But the cold front will come in over the mtns. from up your way. And we will have weather whether or not.

  2. It’s difficult to hear stories of land being taken over for farming and changed so drastically. Reading many stories of indigenous tribes who lost their land, were moved away and their insight into what has been lost in these formal government land grabs over the years. I have ancestry in the Winnebago tribe, which has ties to Illinois although I don’t know exactly where. I am so moved whenever I read of the relationships between the earth/plants/animals of native peoples and how so much has changed or been destroyed. You are doing so much good C.

    • Hmm. Maybe they had summer grounds out this way. I know many of the tribes headed for their warmer camping grounds in the winters.

      The land has been treated abysmally. When I first got here I wanted to give it all a full four years rest. But the family wants the money so I was only able to bring it as far as organic. I would love to be able to plant thousands of trees!!

  3. How funny! My mother, bless her, always baked bread in commercial-size coffee tins. She said it fit her favourite sandwich meat – Bologna. (shudder).

  4. The chicken look like they are ready and staying in!
    Rice sounds good – you could have a Thursday rice day (paella) like in Catlaunya.

  5. How do you deal with the thin plastic coating in the coffee cans in order to bake in them? I have always been leery of baking in cans, but then I don’t tend to purchase items in cans. I can get my coffee at the Natural foods store from bulk bins in my own glass jars, as well as other dried staples such as beans, seeds, flour, and oats.

    • Oh I envy you having a store like that – I am at least an hour away from any good markets. And to fill your own containers is a joy!! I am so jealous. The plastic on the outside of the can just peels right off.

      • But cans in the US are all lined inside with a thin plastic barrier film.

        • The coffee cans are fine to bake in. I know many bakers who have been doing it for years. Drinks cans and cans containing wet foods are lined in a food grade lacquer that is not plastic but mitigates the corrosive effects of the food and drinks. This is why they have Use By dates years out.

          To be honest I would rather bake my good bread in a coffee can than drink corrosive coke out of one of those cans! Each to her own I think.

          Keep in mind that this is just what I do. If it makes you feel uncomfortable please don’t do it. The joys of a blog.

          May I ask who I am talking to? Your handle is Anonymous

        • Not the coffee and cookie cans ( they are ok to bake in) but cans that are containing carbonated drinks, food stuffs etc are lined with a food grade lacquer to prevent corrosion.

          If you like you can even buy coffee cans for baking!

          Oh no! Now it is thundering and snowing! Snow thunder!!

          But like I say – if it makes you feel at all uncomfortable- don’t do it.

  6. Your mention of rice made me laugh. One of my favorite wildlife refuges has been transforming old rice fields into prairie. It’s wet, wet land too, and it’s been quite a process. A few years ago I documented the changes after one of their prescribed burns. You can see it here. The most amazing thing was seeing one section erupt in spider lilies post-burn. You never know what’s lurking benearth the surface of the soil!

  7. My mother always made steamed carrot, potato and date puddings and would use coffee cans if she was making more than just one- (we did have one pudding mold) I still make this Holiday pudding- altho I do not use suet that is called for in this very old recipe- I use butter!

    • Suet is just weird. But that pudding sounds divine! We’re they boiled in the tins? I remember my mum doing something like that. But so long ago

    • I remember, from childhood in the 1960’s that my mom would make big pots of beans flavored with bacon and we would have what was called Boston Brown Bread- you bought it in cans, which it was cooked in, opened the can on both ends and shoved the bread out. I loved that stuff with cold butter. It was a cross between a quick bread and a dessert- dark sweet molasses taste.

  8. Our big storm is now there. BUT— hang on, because that California storm is starting here—It’s snowing again. I am a tad tired of winter!

  9. Having gotten a foot of wet heavy snow last week we have now progressed to the umpteen gazillionth mud season this winter. One day I was tap tapping with ice cleats on my boots, the next slithering through muck.

  10. Your farm photos are wonderful! We’ve had snow and now I’m waiting for… spring! I can’t wait for the nicer weather to be able to get out there and garden ((my happy place)) 💞

  11. I can understand that you prefer to be active and moving. Sitting all day isn’t my thing either, but my job requires it. Luckily it’s well-paid and secure, and I work with a lovely team of people. But, if money was no object, I’d like to do something more active… Garden design, perhaps. In the meantime, I’m thinking a standing desk would be a good idea.

    I hope your power doesn’t go off from the snow. Stay cosy!

    • I have a desk that I can move up and down at will. It is a game changer actually!

      I am happy to hear you are happy in your work. Good for you!

  12. Beautiful roosters! We recently just finished the snow season and are currently awaiting for spring. By the way your farm looks incredible. Some time ago I visited a farm and I have to say I should start doing that more often!

  13. We don’t have coffee cans here, unless you count the big catering packs of instant Nescafé. They’d work, except there’s a big rim at the top that would stop you getting the loaf out… My Ma used to make pumpernickel in the ‘family sized’ soup cans, using a can opener to remove the bottom so she could push the bread out. I can still remember the taste of that with cold unsalted butter and a thin slice of Maasdam cheese on top.

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