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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December

Winter Has Come! 

The ducks are not impressed.  They are not sure what to do all day now that their turf is covered in white.  Mostly they hang out in our driveway, or on our front porch.  It's mostly cute, like they are waiting to be invited in or for Simon to come out and play.  But then there is the poop....


In late October, Chicken was feeling very lonely since we were not outside as much so we bought 2 more ducks to keep him company. They are about 4 months old now. They still have a few more feathers to come in but two little curls have shown up on their tails (just like Chicken's 2 black curls in the photo above), which is generally a tell-tale sign (ha-ha, get it?) that they are male. We have not had the greatest of luck maintaining a long lasting flock of birds, but hopefully these three will beat the odds, because Chicken really loves his new buds, Rosie and Scooter.

Fall lasted a gloriously long time this year.  I left several crops in the ground until after Thanksgiving and did not mulch the strawberries until December 6th this year, the latest yet.  Global warming (yes it is real) is surly playing with the weather, which will make farming even MORE unpredictable as we move forward...and I thought I was challenged by unpredictability now!  In any case, I gladly accepted the glorious colors, warmth and rain of this extended fall.


Deadon Cabbage kissed by the cold.

This picture expresses the importance of fall Cover Crops.  Cover Crops have a multitude of importance to the soil including adding organic matter, improving soil structure, making nutrients available, protecting and loosening soil. The tall oat grass shown here was seeded in mid summer and despite the dry weather, it grew to a nice height.  Eventually frost and cold nights will kill the oats, but dead or alive, this thick layer of cover crop will protect the soil it grows in.  In November, we received a HEAVY 5" of rain (where was that all summer?!).  This field has a slight pitch to it and if it were not covered, much of my soil would have eroded away, washing out of the field and never to return.  You can see the "river" or path the rain made through the tall cover crop, that's exactly where the erosion would have occurred and exactly why i am glad we had cover crop there!!


Now onto winter.  Snow has arrived and I have transitioned from fall boots to snowshoes and long johns.  I have had this hoop house for 7 years now and for 7 years I have hand shoveled its edges to keep it from collapsing under the weight of snow.  Now I am no fool to believe this snowblower will solve all my shoveling needs, but I must admit today was pretty dreamy.  It took me 15 minutes to blow the edges (and that was with doing an extra pass on each side just for fun!!)  Normally, with 6" of snow, I would have been shoveling for at least 2 hours.  The snow was fairly light and it was not quite over the top of the front box of the blower and I still had to coax it along in a few places, so as I said, I am foreseeing some not so dreamy days with the snowblower along the edge of the hoop house, but today I am psyched!  

Back to making potato rolls....wishing you a warm, happy and restful winter!