January

January has turned out to be a beautiful month here.   There is no real off-season, or down-time with a climate like this, but the schedule does feel more open and it’s wonderful to be able to work outside midday without fading in the heat. Also, the longer nights make us come inside at a reasonable time and enjoy the evening with a roaring fire.

The weather has been about ideal. It started cold, but clear, for a big New Year’s bonfire with friends and family. The rain has been plentiful and regular enough that I’ve only needed to water plants inside the greenhouse, and yet never quite so much that anything drowned. The pond hasn’t filled all the way, but is holding enough to look decent and even be functional now that the smaller pump is set up on the dock to use when we need occasional running irrigation water.

I’ve got hundreds of little seedlings coming along for the summer garden. It’s a challenge to decide when to start them so that they are ready to go when the ground is ready for them, but don’t get too big or risk getting too cold. Space on the indoor heat pads is limited, so before I can start more, others need to move out to the greenhouse, which is a less controlled environment. The plants out in the ground are growing very slowly, but do mostly seem to be progressing. We finally caught the gopher who was eating a kale plant every night, so I am hopeful for a large spring batch of greens, peas, fava beans, and potatoes.

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little peppers

The lack of growth is actually nice with some of the perennials because I don’t have to worry yet about how they made it through the winter. Or the deer munching in the case of the orchard trees. I just let them sit there and know that it’s perfectly normal for them to look like sticks.

We did decide on one important new farm acquisition this month that should make a huge difference over the years. A 45 hp New Holland tractor now lives here! My ’51 Ferguson is still here as well and ready to try out the engine repair we did in the fall as soon as the field is drier. The new one will be able to pull much heavier implements though and will be more reliable since it has less than 500 hours on it and is almost 60 years younger. It also has a sun shade and the exhaust does not blow out at eye level!

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My first farm auction purchase and the tractor to pull it.

Happy ‘middle of winter’!  I hope 2016 is treating you well.

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