Sunday, February 12, 2012

Suddenly, a Brief February Winter!

After weeks of delightfully mild weather, this week we suddenly plummeted smack into freezing winter.  Roaring winds with chill temperatures into the teens and even lower, hard freezes at night and, finally, an actual snowfall.  Pretty... but not welcome at this farm.  We're not fans of winter, having done enough time on the Great Lakes to know the reality of it.

You can see from the picture just how barren and bleak the farm can look in cold weather.  The asparagus bed is just dead, feathery foliage, not yet cleaned up and the greenhouse looks much more foreboding than welcoming.  No seeds starting yet - we are no longer fooled by mild seasons and hold out for true early spring before getting any of the planting stuff ready.  It actually looks colder here without snow than with it!

What you can't see in the photo I took this morning of our beleaguered Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) - already recovering from the vicious Sapsucker attacks -  is the abundance of tiny birds hiding from the weather under its strong, leathery leaves.  And, yes, those are fruits and flowers you see dusted with snow.  It blooms in December and the small forming fruits have to make it through these arctic blasts if they are to enlarge and ripen in the spring.  This is the sort of cold blast that knocks my ever-optimistic Loquat planning to hell every season!  Nonetheless, a few fruits will be safely hidden within the branches and I'll get at least a dozen or so to savor.

Hopefully, all of the figs will come through okay.  The trees are old enough now to have some real strength but the continuing warmth (up close to 70 several days) had brought out noticeable green to the terminal buds.  I did not protect the  Ficus afghanistanica deliberately, continuing to follow just how well it may or may not do here - but I'm almost sorry now.  I'd like to get enough growth on it to have some figs!  The little gal is finally getting to bearing size, although knocked back pretty heavily last winter and I'd love to see that the figs are like.  Well, the next couple of weeks will begin revealing if there is serious dieback on anything.

Happy winter!

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