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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Category Archives: weather

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Last weekend, instead of writing on my blog site, I was prepping for a big, icy extravaganza. Yes, we do live in the Southern most major city area (greater Charlotte region) smack in the Middle of North Carolina (Mount Holly). We’re a 4 hour drive from the beach. Yet, we have had not one, but two 2018 tropical storms that devastated areas on the NC coast as hurricanes. The second one blew our chicken coop roof off.

On Saturday, the 8th our first winter storm was starting up. We filled water buckets, since if we lose power, we lose the well pump. I pulled out the heat lamps, also for the well pump. Laundry was caught up and all the dishes washed. Before that, I had cleared out the garage for the van and also for the duck flock. We didn’t want ducksicles. The coop was shored up a bit for the chickens and guinea fowl. The preparations went on for hours.

So, the third major storm of the year was an early December rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, sleet, black-iced roads from the run-off event. You can see the honey bee hive near the tree up on the right. I put a piece of spare roofing at the back for a wind chill break. It was nasty out.

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We didn’t lose power, so I then watched the weather channel.

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I had needed to clean and do other chores anyway, so I killed two birds with one stone(s) in tidying up on Saturday. It gave me the time to do some things that I enjoy on Sunday. I love bird-watching.

I filled up the bird feeders and made some home-made suet with duck fat leftover from Thanksgiving. This pic is in my old bird book. We got one of the male Towhees that day. He was spectacular!

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Three of the five photographs above are from my daily work week art project. As noted in a past blog, it was something that I started to make sure that I took in the day a bit, no matter what was going on. It’s actually a challenge to keep up with. But, it is a good reminder to attempt to seize the day.

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This last one was taken at night instead of in the morning. Now that I have been doing the daily pics for about two months, I think that I’ll let myself slide here and there with timing. And, since “Tis the Season to be Jolly” is now, ending with our front stoop lights seems appropriate.

PS – It rained all day today and yesterday. The ice and snow have melted all the way down finally. The ground has been over-saturated for a while now, and it’s a mud pit outside.

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This is the first stretch of the storm gully up next to the roadside. Our property goes downhill from here. This pipe accommodates water from several properties up and down Old NC 27 Hwy (it is more of a small, winding road than an actual highway).

The arrow points to our main poultry coop in the distance. I put a big blue tarp over it before I wandered up to check out the water situation.

This is the same spot as the following photo from this morning.

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Pic from the previous blog post this am today.

The water line has come up quite a bit. The rain is a fine, dense downpour, and steady.

Later down the gully is the third spot where a pipe goes underground and out again. This one is much larger than the first two.

Before it gets dark,out again, I’ll go out to see what is happening. If there is a major change, and I still have access to the internet or LTE mobile network, you’ll get to see what is happening.

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NCmapFlorenceFlorence started off as a hurricane with far-reaching effects, especially on North and South Carolina. It metamorphosized into a tropical storm. We got the tropical storm part of it first, and are now experiencing the tropical depression phase.

There have been 35-ish MPH winds, and some gusts that seemed to be in the high 40s. And then there is all this rain.

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This is a small section of the run-off gully for our back-slanted property. It can fill in up the sides when there are heavy downpours. The cement pipe can barely be seen within the overgrowth. But it is not covered with water, which is a good thing.

The loss of power so far has been a less than 24 hour period. That’s pretty good for us. Being out on the country roads with a smaller population, our power restoration just does not have the priority of the cities full of teaming masses.

I left the suburbs of NJ, just across the Betsy Ross bridge from Philadelphia, when I was 18 years old. Then it was big cities for 25 years (Atlanta/GA, Frankfurt/Germany, Burbank/CA, Wilmington,/DE, etc.

Our first home purchase was one side of a duplex row house with .10 acre(s). When my husband got a job transfer offer of the greater Charlotte, NC area, we jumped on the opportunity to get acreage. It was less than 1/2 the price of the NE/USA area.

So, now we are out here. Big storms never bothered me much in the suburban or city locations. I actually love rain and storms, especially thunderstorms. But with them, out here on the country roads, preparation is a necessity. Not knowing just how strong the winds would be, we cleared the grounds on Wednesday; roofing material, wood, cages, poultry feeder/drinkers, etc.

When power is out, our water is out – due to the well system. Last night, when I should have been writing this article, I was filling up buckets and washing dishes; after the power came back on.

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We had planned to move the honey bee hive, first into the crawl space underneath the house, and then the nook right to the side of the front stoop. After further consideration, it was left in place.

I put the screen block on the hive entrance. The bees were overflowing when I was putting it on, at 5 am, so I left it at an angle. They can still get out, but it did slow them down.

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While adding the screened frame, I also strapped down the top, which is the most common recommendation for honey bee hives during hurricanes.

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This pic was taken early this morning. There are puddles gathering behind our hive.

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It seems to be time to take the screen off and let the honey bees out to weather the wet, stormy weather themselves.

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The arrow shows a big, dead beetle that dared to enter the hive. 

The bees seem to be happy to be out and about, although they are not storming out into the blustery rain.

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Florence should make its way past us today. Will more trees come down via over-saturated soil? Will we lose electricity again? I’m not sure at this point. But, albeit this weather event really wasn’t very bad for us, I’m really glad that we prepared well. Now that the yard is tidy and the household well-stocked, I may just get the chance to get back to that book reading I’ve been neglecting.

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It has been raining here on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina for days and days and days and… Our honey bees had been taking advantage of the wildflowers we let grown in the front and back most fields. And, there had been a significant slowdown on feeder provision usage. But, since the onslaught of wet weather has come upon us all here @farmette1769, the bees have been sucking up lots of sugar water.

The following three photographs are of the somewhat quiet hive on this rainy Friday night.

  1. Sunset – This shows the standard/traditional beekeepers hive. It was converted and uses top bars instead of frames. The long-style top bar hive (unused ATT) is currently a stand for the in-use standard hive.
  2. Darker – Entrance to the hive during wet weather.
  3. Dusk – Extra sugar water mason jar holders to feed the hungry masses.

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There are still not many honey bees in the added super. It doesn’t seem to be quite as overflowing in the main section as it was. Yet, the original box is still pretty packed. If any of the bees swarmed and left, it could not have been half the population. But then again, a queen bee can lay 1500 eggs per day…

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What I want this year is to get back up on my horse.

The Big Man Dakota sporting his shaggy winter coat

The Big Man Dakota sporting his shaggy winter coat

“The Big Man Dakota” (I call him “Bigs”) is officially a pony, measuring 14 hands even. The standard for a horse starts at a height of 14.2 HH (at the withers).

While the weather is nasty and cold, I am slowly beginning stretching exercises, attempting to get my bad, upper spine to be more flexible and less painful.

This is quite the uphill battle, since progress can be non-existent at times. It seems that every day I am back to square one (I know – everyone is tired of hearing me whine). If I were a horse I could whinny instead, which is a much more pleasant sound.

Pony Stallion Yell Plus Bonus Duck Quacks

My Quarter pony’s yell is much more about getting food than his attachment to me. Yet, Bigs does trust me. That took quite some time. He arrived here as a blind, 5-year old stallion, and the blindness due to the frustration of his original owner.

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Yes, Bigs is a stallion aka intact male. There are two mares across the way, yet Bigs has never attempted to visit them. Blind or not, 90% of stallions would try. Due to his calm demeanor, it seemed pointless to take anything else away from him.

Rocky the pony is already inside, taking advantage of the run-in with its new weather-proofing  (readied for the Arctic blast of Jan. 6, 2014).

Rocky the pony is already inside, taking advantage of the run-in with its new weather-proofing
(readied for the Arctic blast of Jan. 6, 2014).

Bigs's tendency towards claustrophobia leaves him hesitant of the change, but grain coaxes him in shortly after sunset.

Bigs’s tendency towards claustrophobia leaves him hesitant of the change, but grain coaxes him in shortly after sunset.

Although sightless, Bigs functions well and sometimes acts as if he can see things coming. It has taken me up to 45 minutes to get his bridle and bit on. He tosses his head about with a total lack of cooperation (even with a Hackamore). I have a feeling this is why the former owner got so upset with him.

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Bigs can’t see, so he has the fields memorized by feel, getting around quite well. He no longer breaks through fences in a panic. He no longer flees from being patted. Bigs’s overall behavior is actually quite good. I can get easily get on his back and could likely lay down to take a nap too.

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I purchased a very cool, used, close-contact training saddle this past fall of 2013. My aches and pains, enhanced by stress and aggravation got the better of me this season, so I only completed a parked test drive. It fits well and will work for both Bigs and I splendidly, once my hurdles ahead are cleared. In the meantime, Bigs and his companion Shetland pony “Rocky” will keep themselves busy doing what they do best – eating.

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Being already run down from physical unrest, my hair-trigger temper has lately become long-term negativity. It has me wrapped up in my own mind, unable to break free of disparity in the human world. There are 7 billion people on the planet. Half of them live without running water or electricity. Therefore they have little or no access to health care, education, law enforcement, transportation, etc.

As one who attempts to follow Buddhist teachings, I must continue to practice not only patience, but also perseverance – and with this new year of 2014, get back up on that horse (pony).

nota bene: I am not looking for a Pep Rally. There is no need for anyone to cheer me on. If I get back up on that pony, that is what the future will bring. If I don’t, something else will happen next.

Chinese New Year 2014 begins January 31, 2014

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