Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living in A Refrigerator

The Latin root for refrigerator is frigus or frigor which means cold-the dictionary didn't say which word was which.  While I'm waiting for the computer to boot up this program, I wonder why the prefix re.  Cold again.  Last week it was delightful.  Now, the weather is brutal.  There is no cold again. Just cold. As I watch ominous charcoal gray clouds on the horizon, I get the feeling that except for an expanse of trees, hills and crows gathering in the pine trees across the highway, I might as well be living on the third shelf behind the jar of olives. It'd be warmer in the Frigidaire. 

The thermometer reads 46 degrees.  Not really that cold if you're used to living here a couple of degrees of latitude below the arctic circle.  I'm hip to the old witch who cranks up the dial on the chill factor producing 20 mph winds.  I'm wearing a long sleeve T-shirt, a Carhardt flannel shirt, a fleece hooded sweatshirt and my lined L.L.Bean canvas shirt.  The Best Fertilizer baseball cap completes the farmer look. Waiting for Jorge to haul six loads of steaming composted horse manure from the pile outside my neighbor's horse corral to my mountain of compost in the front field, I mulch leaves with Ted the riding lawn mower..  I have an excuse to wear ear protection and keep my ears warm.

For bragging rights, I've got portable cold frames protecting the oregano and celery. At night I cover the celery frame with a thick, quilted moving pad and the triangular cold frame made from two double hung windows screwed together I cover with cardboard and old rugs. The English thyme gets covered with cardboard egg boxes which blow across the town road because the board I used to weigh them down is in use on the row cover over the kale.  A black plastic garbage can lid and two kitty litter pails cover other herbs. The top to an old patio umbrella(sans wood frame) keeps the last tomato plant from freezing. In addition to be able to brag that I still am gardening as fall turns to winter, there's merit to being able to pull spinach out of the garden and steam it with kale for lunch.

When Dawn wins the lottery, we'll be putting up a hoop hothouse to grow cool weather crops like cabbage, broccoli, peas, greens and such. 

Two nights ago I left the kale uncovered taking a large chance that frost would kill the dwarf Siberian Kale.  True to it's name, it survived a white coat of frost, looking green and perky today as I clipped leaves for our 1:00 lunch break.
Moles are tearing up the lawn looking for food in the dry weather.

Washing dishes I see the Pooch skittering across the lawn when a burst of wind makes him kitty crazy about blowing leaves and tumbling cardboard boxes.  He moves very quickly despite the low rider look from eating too much when I see him a few minutes later scouting the leaf pile around the silver maples.He takes his afternoon nap on the moving pad I toss into the pole shed, safe from the terrors of wild northern breezes.  Mandy takes advantage of the cold wind to chase leaves.After a steamy summer she's ready to play, sneaking up behind me and nipping my glove.  When I laugh at her impertinence, she bites at my heels.  I pretend to be scared and drop to the ground to wrassle, if you call slobbering my gloved hands and gumming the thumbs.  It's a holdover to an old glove I left in the truck which she delighted in tearing to pieces.  The wrassle ends with a wet kiss forcing me to go inside and clean my glasses.

The end of the road.


Anonymous said...

Do you over winter your veggies? Or are you trying to squeeze the last bit of bounty out of your garden? It's getting colder by the day here, too. Once the sun sinks to the horizon it gets quite chilly. I love this time of year, though. I stopped gardening a couple of weeks ago and it feels like a reprieve.

Gavrillo said...

If I were a true farmer, I'd get a hoop cold frame from Grower's Supply in Iowa. It's an arched, plastic covered, metal frame green-house about seven feet at the peak, 16-20 feet at the base without heat designed to stretch the season well into fall and winter. But, they cost near 2K. Anything else would have to be heated, and that's costly with existing veggie sales now. I'm "squeezing" by using old window frames, a 100 'row cover and blankets cuz, we be poor.

Last night we used dehydrated celery in our soup because I was too lazy to out in the 25 mph wind chill and cut a few stalks from a fresh plant. What does that say about my commitment?

You got it right about the reprieve feeling!!

Anonymous said...

Two thousand dollars?!! Sheesh! I love your innovations, though. I do that a lot myself. I've spent a ton of time at reuse and rehab places to make my own stuff. Cuz I be kind of poorish, too.

I'm giving you a pass on not heading out to get fresh stalks of celery in that bitter weather. You can harvest some during the warm part of the day.