This year the PNW winter has been no joke. I typically hate talking about the weather since it is one of 3 topics that Alaskans talk WAY too much about. Weather, machinery, and the ever invasive government.
I have found myself obsessed with weather the past 3 years but this winter has been just terrible. I talk about the weather all of the time now. And these are the reasons: my ewes feet are in terrible shape, the frogs have laid probably a million eggs in the pools in my field, everyone is covered in mud, and there is not 1 but 2 mallard pairs living in my field since it looks more like a lake than a pasture.
I look out at my garden over and over and think, “should I till yet?” I even typed out a text message to ask to borrow a tiller but then deleted it before sending because I knew it was too soon. It feels almost like a breakup with spring/summer of 2016. Typically, by St. Patrick’s day enough time has passed so it won’t be weird to contact spring/summer and throw a potato in the ground. But not this year. This year is more like the breakup that most have had where it seems like we will never speak again. But this breakup comes with what has probably been 200 inches of rain, delivered via a slow, constant drizzle or sideways bone-chilling deluge.
Yesterday the whole family was out in the garden with shovels tilling the soil and planting carrots, peas, shallots, and strawberries. Our garden has doubled in size this year and I am having a hard time thinking about the space and understanding how to plant it. I have decided to make a map of the garden and keep track of what I have planted and when…..I know that is not a revolutionary idea but for someone that is not “real good” with details, it is like I am a whole new person. Writing stuff down….ridiculous. I love maps, I am not sure why I have never done this.
Along with an expanded garden, I have received a grant from the USDA to build a high tunnel. If you don’t know about this program, make yourself familiar at: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/programs/?cid=stelprdb1046250. The added square footage is daunting. I am so used to thinking about growing 4 tomato plants….now I need to think about double digits. It blows my mind what you can do with a small amount of land.
The farm is shaping up nicely and I sometimes think that it is guiding me, instead of me being the brains of the operation. I am very excited at where it is going though. This fall we are planning on running a pumpkin patch. Pumpkins, pumpkin chucking, photo ops, hay stack and jump, petting zoo, and maybe an old tractor to climb on. And with the new high tunnel, we may have an indoor pumpkin patch.