The Bleakness of Winter

I’m really going to try to be much better about posting here more frequently….I promise….Karin

Good gravy, it’s cold.  Yes, I know, it’s winter in Missouri and we choose to live somewhere that gets all the seasons.  It’s just something I have to state any way; like stating the obvious will somehow help it warm up a little bit.

I just wish it didn’t last so long.  Just long enough to give the period of dormancy our plants need, then hurry up and warm up!  I dislike the bleak look of the fields without any color to them, just a pale brownish hue all over everything from the trees, to the pastures, to the ponds.  I long for the warmer days with green trees and so many colors of veggies in the field.

Every morning in these frigid temperatures is a form of calisthenics.  Layer after layer of clothing goes on, followed by coveralls, coats, insulated boots, ear covers, hats, scarves, hoods, gloves, face masks and more.  Thankfully the chickens and pigs like sleeping in on very cold mornings, so we get to delay facing the brunt of the cold air until well after the sun is up.  It’s really not bad on days when there is no breeze.  But when the wind blows, it’s often a below-zero windchill.  The animals are all fed and watered as quickly as possible, given more hay to add to the thick layers of bedding they already have, and then it’s back inside to warm up – until it’s time to go outside and tackle whatever projects we’ve scheduled for the day.  Those subzero days make us thankful for the warmth of the high tunnels, which will soar up to 80 degrees pretty quickly when the sun is out.  When the day is cloudy, though, we tend to lean toward activities inside the house.

Seed catalogsMy all-consuming indoor activities right now include ordering seeds and supplies for the spring.  Looking through seed catalogs is addicting…and dangerous.  There are so many varieties to explore!  One of our favorites is Baker Creek.  If you’ve never looked at one of their catalogs, I highly recommend it.  They’ve got fabulous heirloom varieties from all over the world and full-color pictures to boot.  It’s intoxicating.  I have to restrain myself because it is very easy to order way more than we could ever get planted.  But it’s fun to look.

Arcenio is busy working on a new stove set up for the main high tunnel/greenhouse.  This is the one we start our seedlings in and do all our transplants, baskets and planters in.  This year the benches have been completely refurbished and rearranged and a new potting bench put in.  The wood-burning stove was never intended to fully heat the greenhouse, just keep the temperatures well above freezing for the tender seedlings.  The previous set up did not work well enough, so we’re on attempt number two this year.  This set up is already working much better, but is still being tweaked to be ready for the most tender plants (peppers, tomatoes, basil and eggplant) to be moved in the first week of March.

Next time I’ll update you on some of the varieties already in the works for the spring.  Now, excuse me while I make a cup of coffee and settle down with some more catalogs.