As I type this, it is currently 6:30 am on the nose.
Was up at 5:00 am with the rooster’s crow (we decided to name him Rolex 😉 ) made coffee, went and milked my goats, came back and put milk in fridge, filled water buckets and carried to goats, got them hay too, came back to the house, got more coffee, signed onto internet, puttered around on Facebook for about 15 minutes and now I’m typing this blog post.
I’ve moved around my schedule a bit and I am very happy with how it is right now. After I do the blog post, while everyone is still asleep, I go for a quick 15 minute hike in the woods…up to the top of our property and back down, it’s about 1/2 mile one way and all uphill. I felt like I haven’t been getting out in the woods enough, so lately I’ve been trying to get out there everyday with a morning hike. After coming back, there is breakfast and morning chores then work to do, then break for lunch, then it’s school time till about 4:00 pm when the kids get a snack and get to go outside and play. I milk at 6:00 pm and dinner’s at 7:00 pm and then the kids are usually in bed by 10:00 pm. And then it starts all over again, but I am liking it!
It’s WARM out there, already 40 degrees Fahrenheit with a high of nearly 60 predicted for today! Which is much better for me, I find it so much easier to get out of bed when the weather is warmer. Will be planting peas today, a variety called “Carouby de Maussane” from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, they’re going on the tall trellis. Also plan to sow a few token radish seeds (French Breakfast, my favorite) since I think that the worst of the cold is probably over and done with for the year and radishes are a good way to test that out.
I’m really hoping for an early Spring like last year when our last frost was April 1st. Our “micro-climate” is very unique because we have a rather large creek that runs by our house and it seems to have a sort of enhancing effect on the temperatures. Also, we live on a western facing slope, and with no leaves on the trees, we get all the late afternoon and evening sun which warms us up quite nicely. So, for example, when the weather is on a warming trend it seems to warm up faster and stronger.. I don’t quite understand it myself, but I am grateful for the effect that it seems to have and I think it is what protected us from frost last year, because it got close a couple of times at the end of April last year, but it didn’t happen.
I also have a new garden plot in the back garden to dig. I plan to start with sod removal today. It’s a big plot, about 20′ x 8′ and it’s going to be my new very deeply and doubly dug “potato pit”. The sod will be used to build up the bank of the creek where it overflowed and eroded when we had 3-4 inches of rain a couple of weeks ago. I am going to build a levee of sorts, using big stones from the bank of the creek with the sod between them, like a mud stone wall, because if it erodes any further it will start to encroach on the garden plot over there (the water was lapping at the fence posts during the flooding!) and we can’t have that…
The Broad Windsor Fava Beans that I planted on December 12th are sprouting! and I’m so very happy about that! That was an experiment to test the cold hardiness of the seeds. I overwintered four “teenager” age plants of the purple variety “Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto” with the idea of saving seeds from them, but, even with protection, they did not like the 2 degree weather we had. They look very burnt and wilted by frost and cold right now, but they are still alive and should quickly begin to regrow leaves as the weather (hopefully) warms up. Favas are very cold hardy but will not tolerate temps below 10 or 12 degrees. I was hoping that the plants would survive fully intact and that I would be able to get an extreme jump-start on the growing season by growing Favas as a Fall crop to mature in early Spring but apparently we get too cold for that. I am very happy about the seeds sprouting however, as I do not see us getting below 10 or 12 degrees Fahrenheit for the rest of this winter. So, as it stands now, late winter planting seems to be ideal for them.
With the warm-up also comes the possibility of sugaring time! As soon as it is lighter outside I’ll be hiking up to check on my “test tree” as I call it. A very old maple, with a deep fissure along the side, I think from a lightening strike, the tree is too old to heal itself and slowly dying, but when the sap starts running it starts leaking out of the fissure and that is my sign that other trees are more than likely running also. And then it’s time to tap them! It’s all about the timing 😀