The temperature bottomed out at -17 overnight. Whoa, it’s cold. I spent a couple of hours outside yesterday clearing snow and doing little chores like filling bird feeders. The cold really drained the energy out of me. Given time I’m sure I’d adapt. The weather forecaster said this is the coldest weather in nearly 2 decades. We have plenty of winter in Michigan, but with the big Lake nearby to moderate extremes we rarely get below zero. The storm that preceded the cold dumped a bit over 14” of snow for us to enjoy. Kids are home, everything is closed, and I have plenty of food and books. So we are in winter-joy mode…
The cold presents few problems for the farm at this time. The snow that blanketed everything before the frigid temperatures arrived, is insulating the perennials and ground. Last year we had bare ground for much of the winter, or only light snow covering. When the deer roamed through the fields they snacked on the strawberry foliage. It’s a bit protected now. Old farmers always commented that the snow was a form of fertilizer reducing what had to be added…I’m sure the minor ash and mineral content of snow can contribute a bit. I would speculate that the insulating effect of the snow on the soil, with increased microbial activity and the higher relative temperatures would have more impact than the snow’s contribution. A gain regardless!
In the days leading up to the storm I took time to move some stored food and seed potatoes to better locations. I generally store in our unheated garage over the winter months. Experience taught me that sustained cold under 8 degrees would result in sub-freezing temperatures in the garage. All of the seed potatoes were moved to an insulated enclosure. Carrots, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, celeriac, celery and other stored foods needed place to survive so they were moved to market coolers and similar protective enclosures. So-far-so-good!
Ever find something misplaced when doing another chore. As I was moving the stored items around I came across a bag of garlic that had been missing. I had been wondering why we were running low. The worst feeling of having to buy garlic had come over me. I found the garlic in a box of stored potatoes. Now we have what is needed to get to early June when the scapes will be harvested. I guess the bag was dumped in after market one week….