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Sleeping Beauty

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:48
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In contrast to my poor friend in Maine who is blitzed with snow, our weather has been moderating of late.

For about a week, we had the frustrating conditions of just-above-freezing days and below-freezing nights. What this meant was snow would melt just enough to form puddles, which then froze solid. This served to turn our 300-driveway, nearby dirt road, and cattle feedlot into sheets of ice. We couldn’t take the dog walking for days because footing was too treacherous. We sowed ice-melt along paths to the shop and barn, and that was it. I was praying we wouldn’t lose a cow to a broken leg from slipping on ice in the feedlot.


Any outside activities meant we had to shuffle along like Tim Conway playing the old man on the Carol Burnett Show (remember?).

Thankfully the ice is starting to melt. Our daytime temps have actually gotten to 40F (yesterday it was a dazzling 47F!), so we’re finally getting bare ground and safer footing.

This is our pasture. A stream of water is trickling down the middle.

Just yesterday the drainage path was covered with snow; now the snow is thin and rotten, and shortly will collapse into this little temporary stream.

Yesterday I waded out to the garden for the first time in months to see what I should see.

Now compare this scene:

…with a similar photo taken October 12:

These are the beds where I planted the potatoes…

…on October 13.

Here are the strawberry beds:

…and how they look in August:

Here’s our startup orchard. We planted an experimental orchard (four each of apple and peach, and two of plum) in huge tractor tires last May (blog post is here), and this is their first winter for the young trees in their new location.

…and a photo from last August:

The trees have healthy-looking buds. This is plum:

And this is peach:

One notable thing was how dramatically the snow melted away from the tires, leaving large rings of bare ground. Here in the cold north, the extra heat reflected off the black rubber is an advantage.


I noticed this little spider in the snow and assumed it was frozen solid. Nope, very much alive. A spider on snow, go figure.

Here are the tires where I normally plant either tomatoes or viney plants such as melons.

Here’s the garlic boat

…with a garlic plant poking around the snow.

The blueberries…

…also have healthy buds.

Here’s a brave Brussels sprout poking above the snow. Last summer these veggies got inundated by aphids and I got no harvest, but it looks like several over-wintered well. Brussels sprouts are biennials, so I’ll leave one or two to produce seeds this upcoming summer. Meanwhile I’ll plant some in the house within the next week or so (Brussels sprouts have a long growing season).

The raspberries. In early April or so, I’ll trim out last year’s dead canes.

Sage, which overwinters beautifully here.

Two of the young grapes we planted last summer. I’ve never grown grapes before and I’m curious how they’ll do this year.

Right now the garden is like Sleeping Beauty, waiting for spring’s kiss to wake up and come back to life. Can’t wait!


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