Winter Challenges in the Country, Part 1

http://www.motherearthnews.com//homesteading-and-livestock/winter-challenges-in-the-country-part1-zbcz1402.aspx

Sign In The Snow

We moved out to the Pacific Northwest from Ohio oh so many years ago for many reasons, but one of the big ones was a milder climate. At that time, Rolfe (husband dearest) was a builder and the winters seemed mighty long to his cold fingers, toes, legs, ears, nose, well, you get it. Anyhow, most years, we are blessed with receiving that mild kind of weather but this year, along with the whole rest of the country we received the Artic Snowfreeze Storm. It landed on Thursday and shut just about everything down. Then, it continued on Friday and by Saturday we had 14” out here in our mild climate.

I had a lot of fun watching the depth grow and change – looking out the window behind my computer, I could see the snow fast overtaking everything. Our espalier (pruned early this year and looking great!) had almost no remaining trunk with all that snow, and looked like it sprung out with its side-flowing branches almost immediately from the ground. My little fig tree (not even knee high yet) kept building snow until less than 1” of its highest limbs were showing – could determine its location mainly by the marker stick beside it. We live over a mountain pass off a State Highway where they take great care of the road, but during this particular storm, things became mighty quiet and there was hardly any sound of passing cars. This storm was serious, and a time for all to be home.Snowed Over Green Houses

We hunkered down, happy to still have electricity – an iffy thing during our infrequent storms. Workers were called off; after all, even if they could make it here, how could we know what conditions would prevail by the time they wanted to return to their own home. And, much of the work is outdoors. What’s a person to do under 14” of snow? The first day, I could barely stand to go outside. It was cooooooooooold and we’d recently returned from Mexico where we experienced 85 degrees daily. So my body was quite rebellious to the whole outdoorsy idea. But, there are necessities that draw you out (we are, after all, a mail-order seed business — www.ThymeGarden.com — with a functioning computer and thus wanted to get those orders off to our customers at the earliest possible moment.

Each time I ventured out, I became more accustomed to the temperature and began to find it more and more delightful with each experience. Rolfe may not have found it quite as pleasant since he was the one who was in charge of getting up on the 8 ft ladder with a push broom to get the snow off the greenhouses so that they wouldn't collapse. That's tough work but he survived and the greenhouses did too. Sadly, many in our area did not fair so well.

Snowy AdventurerWe also were very proud of our post office and delivery person for staying open and carrying on following their old adage “Through rain, and the sleet and snow…….” It is hard to imagine fulfilling one’s job under these conditions – pulling over to each unshoveled individual mailbox to deposit our orders and bills and junk and to take away our fulfilled orders. Kudos to the mail-persons!! And, it was actually a treat for my husband and I to work just the two of us, a rare event these days in our business. Happy is the couple who can work together after 41 years and call it a treat! As darkness drew near, real darkness came when the lights (and all electric) went out in late afternoon. Then, our “pioneer” skills were really called upon.

Posted by Janet

Continued next time. . .