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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The cold cuts straight to the bone

The smell of fresh garlic fills the house as my dad whips up some eggs straight out of the chicken house. The size and shapes of all the different eggs reminds me of smooth gemstones before they are cut and polished.

Today is a sick day. The rain outside has covered the peacock and his iridescent feathers turn the blue to a different angle so he looks green, like he might be having a sick day too. Rain in December is a mixed blessing. While it's nice that it's not super cold, there's nothing that really chills down to the bone and cuts straight through my immune system like a bitter cold rain.
And I have been out in it every chance I can get with my latest project.

I guess rewind a few months to pictures like this....
The gardens were full, tomatoes were plentiful, love lies bleeding was doing what it does best among the cosmos and everything was growing.  First frost hits and knocks some things out. And then slowly us Ohio gardeners have to watch as each week the bitter cold nights knocks out the tender ones as it marches on towards eventually the demise of the winter stubborn kale.

 It's depressing.

So I started researching and thought about indoor gardening in unheated greenhouses and ended up with some tomatoes in the seed starting greenhouse for about a month after the outside ones had long gone.
These tomatoes held on for quite awhile after their outside counterparts had long since gave up. The tomato fruits were large and green and we brought them inside to finish ripening in the windows.

The other greenhouse held the hopes of little lettuce starts and salvaged plants from the garden we were hoping to hold on for a bit longer, but the single layer of plastic was not very effective at staving off the cold.

In my trips to other farms, I focused on their season extending cold frames and greenhouses, seeing what other people were doing to supplement their outdoor growing season. Seems like cold frames are the way to go. With just a small investment, you can cover quite a bit of ground and with passive solar heat and protection from the wind, you could do quite a bit


So the plan was set into place to get a nice sized cold frame that would extend our season for both homestead sustainability and for bringing more produce to market during a longer season. So far so good, but the process we are working through is for another blog, another time. 
In other news, RIP our High Mill sign. That last terrible wind storm ripped the 4x4s in half. But this picture was taken just a few weeks ago when the hollyhock decided it was their time to bloom in spite of terrible weather.

So Pepper is inside watching the Browns bumble around and we are happy to feed the sheep some great long grass on the hill that we only mowed one time this past year. The chickens have eaten the fall pumpkins and all the sunflower heads have been consumed already (got to save more next year) and the goats have put on their fuzzy winter coats. 
It's not seed ordering time yet, but we are optimistically battening down the hatches for another Ohio winter.