We got our wish!! A white Christmas, and that at just the last minute.
I had just recently mentioned to Mr. Dlugos my fear that we would have a brown Christmas and that on top of my own expectations it would rob his family of the true New England Christmas experience. (Perhaps they have had a previous New England Christmas. . . I don't know. What I do know is that I tend to be overly romantic about this season!)
James of the Pearson's Town Auxiliary was with me yesterday feeding and watering in preparation for today. The sheep were running around in their paddock chewing on green winter rye grass that we had seeded in the autumn. The chickens were pickin' at whatever they could find. Even the last of our artichoke plants was looking quite at home, green and healthy in Calvin (our northern most hoop house). For the uninitiated artichokes are biennial plants that naturally reside in regions warmer than ours. The whole farm scene wasn't very Christmas-y at all.
Chickens running about eating what they can find.
So confession - my want for a white Christmas isn't all that pure and romantic. As with most things there is a farmish element to my thinking. As an aspiring organic permaculture farm we rely so very heavily on the natural order and the seasons doing what we have come to expect them to do. In the last few years we have seen a rise in insect trouble both indigenous bugs and newcomers who are migrating north as the mild winters allow them.
The last of our 'experimental' artichokes looking right at home in Calvin.
We have tried with all diligence to avoid using any form of pesticides (anything that kills insects is considered a pesticide whether it is naturally derived or made in a lab from petroleum as are most of our commercial pesticides. An example - bowls of beer strategically positioned in the garden will kill slugs. Beer is therefore a pesticide. . . when will we see warning labels for that??). Last year we grew desperate after an early and overwhelming stinkbug invasion (they attack pumpkins, squash and the like) and resorted to applications of kaolin powder. Kaolin is a clay that is ground into dust, mixed with water and sprayed onto the leaves of the offended plants. Even these desperate measures weren't sufficient to save some of our crops!
Some greens growing for Catherine's Cupboard in Calvin.
Cold, snowy winters help us to keep our shoveling muscles built up and insect populations in check! A hard, snowy winter being beneficial to us, starting it before Christmas is even better. So when I wish for a white Christmas it is in part to evoke that magical Dickensian Christmas feel but also to kill off those nasty little buggers who are going to give me endless headaches come June. Is that selfish?!?!
We at Pearson's Town wish you all a very Merry Christmas. For those of you in Maine, buckle up!! My wish for a hard winter is supposed to arrive Thursday morning. 14 inches predicted with 40 mile an hour gusts. . . woohoo!!!!!!