Saturday, November 19, 2011

Final Winter Prep

For the second weekend in a row, we opted to not participate in the winter famers market because we have so much to do at home to get ready for winter.  Lots of little  projects, like taking in the rest of the moveable electric fence. ..
and a few larger projects, such as last weekend, when we poured a concrete slab for the new cow fountain. [Once again, my $25 pink metal bunkbed frame from a garage sale came in extremely handy as a barrier so the curious cows didn't step in the wet concrete or flip the water on before the plumber arrives to install the fountain.]

The cow fountain is a costly investment but I am SO looking forward to not having to haul water in the winter or risk being distracted and overflowing the stock tank when I am filling it with the hose.  The cows will be happy that it never runs dry or freezes up. Also, it is much more energy-efficient than using a stock tank heater to keep the water from freezing and should pay for itself in electricity savings in a few years.
This morning I finally got the garlic planted - 100 huge cloves, mostly from our own garlic harvest, plus a few from a Farmers Market garlic grower.  This should give us plenty of garlic for all that pizza we make and enough to sell some at our farm store next year. I watered well after planting and covered the garlic bed with a layer of straw.

Darn! I didn't get the tulip bulbs planted. The ground hasn't frozen yet, though, so I might still have an opportunity tomorrow.  If the snow melts, the ground might actually become soft enough to dig the bulbs in.
Everything is parched and dry, dry,  dry - we haven't had significant rain all fall and the ground is cement-hard.  Yesterday, I resorted to using the rototiller to breakup the soil so I could plant the garlic today. The rototiller belongs to our friend Joe, who lent it to us when he moved into town.  This tiller is such a helpful little beast!
This afternoon, Rog winterized the lawn mower and rototiller and stored them away in the barn barn. He got out the snowblower and made sure it starts up and is easily accessible.
 I worked on winterizing the  high tunnel. I  discovered a way to  secure the side  panels to the ends to reduce the draft of cold air whooshing in at the  corners...
by cutting up  lengths of a plastic sump-pump hose, slitting and popping the tubes over the end tubes, pinching the plastic film inside. 
Inside the high tunnel, I covered one row of three beds with floating row cover to see how it would work.  Wire hoops are on order for use as supports, but for now I used step-in fence posts (from the movable electric cow fence) spaced along the outer edge of the  beds.  I bowed them to meet in the center of the row and duct-taped them together.  The row cover is draped over and clipped to the fence posts with clothespins.  Tomorrow I will compare the temperatures under the row cover and outside the row cover to see how well it works to hold the heat. 
We cleaned up all the stuff around yard that could be a snow-blowing hazard - poultry feeders, dog toys, flower pots, hoses, etc. Rog dumped the (frozen) water out of the duck pool and stored the plastic pool away.
I am a bit worried about how dirty the white ducks will be by spring without their daily swim. Already today they looked a bit dingy - not their usual snowy-white.
The buff orpingtons decided the best place to hang out in the snow was alongside the car. Maybe it was still warm from my  errand-run into town.
Last year, winter arrived so abruptly we weren't totally prepared; this year I think we are about as ready as we can be.  Looking outside tonight, the ground is covered in beautiful snow. I am in the mood to hunker down for winter.


gz said...

good to be prepared, even if it does mean missing a market.

I did a farmers' market yesterday and sometimes I wonder why I bother. At least I covered stall rent and fuel cost.
It is a job to teach people here that a farmers market means quality food and goods, not cheap rubbish.
Lovely shot of the hens queuing up by the car!

verification word...unchewy!!

Becky said...

You have been hard at work but I'm sure this winter you'll be grateful for it. That cow fountain sounds great! I'm sure the cost will be worth it if you don't have to haul buckets of water in the ice and snow!