While most of the US is battling extreme cold and snow, Seven Trees Farm has been basking in record warm temperatures. It hasn’t gotten us off the hook for the flu epidemic making the rounds of our area, but being able to step outside for some fresh air that is actually warm and dry is big winter treat.
Lucky and Percy, our resident Quaker parrots, also enjoy treats – of the edible variety. Our shore pines produce cute little cones that are perfect for stuffing with peanut butter, rolling in bird seed, then hanging for them to ‘forage’ on. The parrots are usually fairly lazy, but they shinny right up their play ladder to get to this nugget of goodness. Naturally, what goes in must come out, so a nice day means cage cleaning time. Having a hot water faucet installed outside makes dirty jobs a lot more comfortable. You can see by the dark clouds to the north that the sunny day was just a brief interlude in our normal chilly dankness. Bismarck decided to show up on the jobsite for an inspection. He’s not called Busy B for nothing! Since there was no chance of freezing temperatures or sudden windstorms, it was time to see what our forlorn hope of a winter garden was up to. Every fall we start discussing how best to grow food year round. As the climate changes, there are some winters with bonus warm spells long enoough to allow hardy greens to survive. It would be a great investment in time, money and labor to build a cold frame/hot bed, but something always seems to come up before we can. My late fall starts ended up getting popped under a quick row cover with a healthy sprinkle of sluggo…then winter set in.
We had a lot more windstorms than we expected, and pulled back the row cover before one of them. It’s much better to let the poor plants fare for themselves than pick shredded polyester out of the trees and sticker bushes. Unfortunately, the wacky weather has been helpful for the varmint population, and it didn’t take long for the ring neck doves (which we mistakenly thought had flown elsewhere for winter) to pillage the ‘bounty’.We ended up with some parsley, two spinach and one wee little devil’s tongue lettuce…no cold season salads for us.
But the sneak peek of spring was enough to prompt the ritual unearthing of the seed-starting apparatus, and so the 2015 growing season commences.