Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just Another Snowy Weekend

We were blanked by another significant snowstorm over the weekend. This is the third snowstorm in three weeks. The predictions were 4-8 inches but we ended up with about a foot of heavy, wet snow. Here are some photos taken through the window during the storm:







The photos below were taken the morning after the storm as we began to dig out. The sun was shining brightly the whole day:



We did lose power briefly during this storm. It was during the night and we had the wood stove burning for heat. Yet another snowstorm is predicted for tomorrow. The weatherpeople are guessing that it will be a 2-day storm and leave another 6-10 inches of snow. I can't wait for spring

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It begins…

The seed starting area has been organized, trays cleaned, and the first seeds sown last weekend. My Fedco seed order arrived today:



Onion seeds were the first to be scattered over moist seed starting mix and gently watered. Within days they began to sprout.



Now the growing season of 2013 officially begins. I welcome the first bit green growth, the smell of soil, and the promise of fresh food to come.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Day After the Storm

The sun is shining, the wind has died down, and the cleanup of the Blizzard of 2013 is complete at our house. We were thrilled to see this first thing this morning:



During the storm, snow drifts buried the cars almost completely. As the winds continued blowing, the snow was whisked away from the cars. It was almost effortless to clean them off and dig them out.

Another nice surprise greeted us as we made our way out to begin digging out this morning. One of our neighbors kindly cleared the end of our driveway and in front of our mailbox. We live on a cul-de-sac and the town snowplow rarely plows close to our driveway entrance requiring us to clear an extra 10-20 feet out in the road sometimes. We are very thankful for the help.

K wielded the snow blower and quickly cleared the driveway and made paths for the dogs around the yard. Most areas had two feet of snow but some drifts were much higher. Luckily the snow was light. Waiting until today to clear the snow was a smart decision. The wind and cold would have made it more challenging yesterday.

I am amazed that we made it through the storm without even a flickering of the lights. We tend to lose power frequently and are always prepared just in case. It was nice to have our internet and television to keep up with the news of the storm.

Even for us Mainers, this much snow falling all at once is unusual. Almost the entire state shut down and people were urged to stay home. Busses, trains, and airports were immobile leaving some people stranded. Even the Post Office announced that they wouldn't have delivery on Saturday. This is a storm that will be talked about for many years to come.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

In the Middle of the Blizzard

It is difficult to judge how much snow has fallen so far because the wind is whipping it into high snowdrifts. The local news says 24-inches for our town. We had to push the door open to let the dogs out and shovel a path for them. Within an hour, the path disappeared beneath the blowing snow. I can't believe we still have power.

View Out the Window Looking Towards the Garden

We started a fire in wood stove and will stay inside until the storm is over. I hope all my blogging friends are safe and warm.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Garden Plans, Goals, and Other Musings

Earlier this month I inventoried my seeds and did a rough sketch of the garden layout for this year. I don't need a lot of seeds, but a list was developed and a small order placed with Fedco.

My first year as an independent graphic designer has been an adventure. I have gained some wonderful clients and worked on some enjoyable projects, but income is inconsistent. Having a variety of canned, dried, frozen, and stored produce from the garden certainly helped me feel secure at times. Even during the low times we ate very well.

This year, I want to increase the types of foods that we have been relying on through the winter months:

Root Crops: I am adding some new root crops such as turnip, parsnip, celeriac, and salsify. These can be stored in our basement and used in stews and soups over the winter months. I am also increasing the crops I regularly grow such as carrots and onions. Potatoes grown last year have served us well and should last until spring. I plan on planting the same amount this year.

Herbs: I want to grow chamomile, mint, lavender, and other herbs that can be used for teas. Since I work from home, I find it convenient to keep a teapot of water hot on the wood stove during cold winter days. Herbal tea grown from my garden will be a real treat next winter.

Canned Goods: As far as canned foods, I want to increase the jams and jellies canned. I now make my own yogurt and find a couple spoons of jam or jelly a perfect flavoring addition. We grow raspberries, blueberries, grapes, and apples on our property. Other fruits can be acquired from local farms.

I am diversifying the types of paste tomatoes grown to hopefully grow enough for canned tomato sauce and salsa to last us at least until the next growing season. Most years this is not a problem. As mentioned previously, disease reduced tomato yield last year. Adding some disease resistant hybrid varieties and growing some sensitive heirlooms in self-watering containers should help.

Frozen: More Spinach, Swiss Chard and Kale. I only grew enough of these greens for fresh eating. I would like to have more to blanch and freeze for easy addition to soups and stews.

I want to make more of an effort to plan and grow some fall crops. Usually I am so busy with tending the garden and preserving the tomato glut that I often make much effort to plant for fall crops. I will try to extend my seed-starting schedule beyond spring and summer crops. At least I will try to remember to toss some carrot seeds when a space in the garden opens up. Carrots grow well for me as a fall crop.

I still need to fine-tune the garden plan and work on the seed-starting schedule. Last year's schedule worked really well. So I will only be adding the new crops and adjusting the dates a little. I can't wait to start growing again.

We are expecting a Nor'easter this weekend that could dump 2-feet of snow. Garden dreams will need to wait as we prepare for the storm and possible power outages that it may cause.