Saturday, February 27, 2021

February's Garden (2021)

February 16, 2021

February has not been an easy month for the garden. The first snow arrived on the 7th.  It began with rain and high winds before turning into snow.

February 7, 2021

This year there were ten tunnels, far more than any other year and there were not enough wire supports, landscaping staples, and barely enough covers. It became painfully obvious the wire supports were too far apart and so, began bending and sagging during this snowstorm. Sections were drooping low enough to flatten some of the plants. I feared this would happen during installation in the fall but decided to take a chance and try to stretch what was available.

I gambled and lost.

There were places where the wind had blown the tunnels open and the plants were exposed.  The covers were frozen to the ground and ripped when pulled. 

It would have been impossible to walk in the garden without sinking in the mud if it wasn't for the hay in the aisles.  This is the reason I went In Search of a Bale of Hay. 

We needed fresh vegetables.  This bed was chosen because it has the least amount of plants.  It will be cleared out next and prepared for spring planting.  

Instead of picking a few of the outside leaves, each entire plant was harvested.  They were sliced at the root because it was quick and I was cold. Taking a large amount saves me trips to the garden. 

This is what I harvested while the tunnel was open. 

After the snow melted, two surprise packages arrived.  The horse trainer's manure spreader had broken, another part is on order so I got everything when they cleaned the stables.  This was the best Valentine gift ever!

February 10, 2021

A little over a week later, The Great Snowstorm of 2021 arrived, and this time, I couldn't even find the garden.  There was over an inch and a half of ice under a thick layer of snow.  The weight bent the wires even more.  I hadn't made any repairs because I just didn't want to go outside to fight the bad weather.

February 16, 2021

After the snow melted, it was easy to see everything that needed attention. Before next year, it will be necessary to either have fewer beds or get more supplies.  

February 22, 2021

After the covers were removed, most plants were fine and will rebound.  

February 23, 2021

However, some were smashed hard.

Serifon, Green in the Snow

On this bed, the cave-in damaged these collards pretty badly.  The top leaves are broken.  At the next harvest time, they will be picked, the damaged areas removed and then cooked in beef broth with lots of pepper for Bill. I am leaving the houses open for a few days to see if they can revive.  The wires must be straightened before the next snowstorm.

Collard Greens

Decent weather is predicted for a few days so I am leaving them open.  The vegetables are hardy enough to withstand temperatures down in the lower thirties (F).  March can go either way - snowy or warm - winter or spring.  It's a gamble - all of gardening is a gamble.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Great Snowstorm of 2021


We got slammed this week by two back-to-back massive polar vortex storms that moved across the USA.  The ice arrived first with single-digit (F) temperatures followed by another storm which dropped a thick blanket of snow.  Below is not snow - it is solid ice.

Female Cardinal and Brown-Headed Cowbird

We had plenty of warning and were prepared for the storm. The last thing we did before the ice arrived was to load up on bird food.  The bright red cardinals could be seen perched in the trees in the woods behind our house. 

We threw the feed out the kitchen door onto the deck.  They were happy - we were entertained.

Word spread about the free picnic and more birds arrived. 

Two days following the ice storm, we awoke early to see the second snowstorm had arrived during the night and our neighbor clearing our drive.

Thanks to his kindness, Dustin didn't miss a day of work which pleased his boss but not Dustin.  However, Bill and I didn't want to walk home if our car slid off in a ditch so we stayed put.

Scooter slept through the weather report and was quite shocked to see how the world changed overnight.

What happened?

The horses hovered beside the dwindling hay bale and didn't venture further than a few feet away. They didn't like walking on the slippery ice.

Second in popularity to the bale of hay in the field were the feeders and blob of frozen homemade suet in the basket on the back deck. The variety of new birds that showed up was surprising.

Male Red Cardinal and Carolina Chickadees

Blue Jays

Tufted Titmouse

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown Thrasher


Dark-eyed Junco

American Goldfinch

Woody, who loves to drink the syrup in the hummingbird feeder, found the suet irresistible.  Being frozen hard as a rock only added to his dining experience.

Tennessee Red-bellied Woodpecker

Finally, the sun shone again.  When the hay bale was gone, the horses moved to the middle of the field and stared at the gate awaiting more food.  It didn't take long before the magic feed tractor arrived right on time.

Yesterday the roads melted enough so we could make it up the driveway in the late afternoon. I was fighting a bad case of cabin fever and had to get out of the house.  I told Bill potatoes were on sale at Kroger and we desperately needed a bag.  Then I said surely our neighbors had built some snowmen and we absolutely must see them before they melted.  (Fever will do strange things to a person's brain and I was going crazy.)

My creative neighbors didn't disappoint. This fellow had a rake for hair and driveway reflectors for eyes (must look scary after dark).

This guy was over eight feet tall. It took some strong men to build him.

This one was standing in front of the junkyard that employs Junkyard Sheep and Goats as landscapers.  It must have been a slow day so instead of working, the employees (not the goats, I think) built the snowman.  

This guy has either ears, horns, or a punk hairdo, but no matter, he looked quite satisfied with himself.

Last but not least, my favorite - a gallant soldier snowman.

We headed back home before the roads began freezing again so I could bake potatoes for dinner.  Now I am quite satisfied to wait out the rest of the storm at home.  Cabin fever is a serious malady.

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