Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Early frost-

After days of sweltering weird heat- we got frost last night. Just the "light" stuff; not a killing frost; air temp only went down to around 35°F, but there was plenty of ice on car windshields and piles of grass. Smidgen was excited; she's looking forward to snow, since I explained why the leaves were falling off the trees.

I'm not quite so enthusiastic; it's quite early, and some of our crops are vulnerable. At any rate, Middle Child is here for a couple days, with a rented commercial mower, clearing the way for some harvest stuff; that's a huge help.

And just barely in time; since the muggy heat made several things start to ripen ahead of schedule. The harvests aren't supposed to overlap- but they are, this year.

I've seen a couple of enthusiastic newspaper articles recently, explaining how gardeners now have new choices for things to grow- because of the climate changes. Let's grow peaches in Maine!

Don't bet on it. The early frost is a nifty spin-off from "global warming", too. And temperature extremes like that won't go away. Yes, we'll have warmer years, warmer summers- on average; but we're also going to have record blizzards, record cold spells. The atmosphere is DISTURBED- from the extra heat. Your peach tree in Maine is likely to grow beautifully for a few years- then get zapped.

Thanks for all the kind wishes, guys, it really does help. We're still working to exhaustion - but getting a little help- and some of the harvest is IN. Long way to go, though.


Deb said...

We had 22 degrees here in a low spot in Pine County. I've often wondered if my thermometer is wacko, but the damage to the garden leaves me without doubt. Everything but the lettuce and kale is more or less dead, although I will have tomatoes to can.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes -- though we've never met, I have told others about you and your blog and think of you often, especially with all the unexpected turns of events this summer/fall (and especially as we work to get our little harvest in and taken care of).

Finished reading "The Land Remembers." The end shocked me so I cried and cried. Better find a used copy so I can re-read it in future, too.

Anonymous said...

If it's not one thing, it's another eh?

Best of luck with everything.

From a Canadian admirer.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're getting a little help! Yes, our apples have been a little early this year. I'll be picking them tomorrow, finally -- been busy with tomatoes (still am). They've been ready for about a week I think -- usually it's a week or two from now.

The funky weather has definitely made things more "interesting". I'm starting more stuff indoors now than I used to, with spring weather being less predictable than it used to be. Hoping to build a greenhouse at some point in the next year or so, and probably some coldframes before that (smaller, easier to build). Right now I can only start my lettuces and tomatoes indoors - not enough space for everything!

Farmer's Almanac says the Northeast will be getting a harsh winter this year. Some government office or news article I saw a few weeks back (sorry, don't remember where) said that we'd be getting a mild winter. From the signs we've been getting all summer up here (western MA), I'd say the Farmer's Almanac is more accurate... and of course we chose this year to move up into hilltowns, where we'll likely get twice as much snow as in the valley :D

On the other hand, we'll be sharing a house with two other folks (my in-laws), so the heating bill will be more manageable.

I imagine the flooding did some damage to your fields, but I hope you're able to get in most of your harvest!

Cathy said...

Seems like you're flat out like a lizard drinking :)

You'll be right tho'

Take care


K said...

We had our first frost last night too. This is my first year in southern VT and I'm not thrilled with the weather. Bitterly cold (to me, for september) nights and warmish days. There's a fifteen degree evening temperature difference between VT and NYC (where I'm from). After this year is up I'm movings omewhere warm.

Greenpa said...

Deb- thermometers often ARE wacko! I recommend getting 3 good ones, and figuring from there. To make things worse, it's common for a thermometer to be very accurate at one end of the scale, and goofy at the other. I even invested in a certified USDA Weather Service thermometer at one point. They're huge fun- then the danger is you may bore everyone with your own fascination... :-)

Greenpa said...

cheap- yeah, me too. Actually there are a couple places in that book that bring me close to tears, every time. I usually ask someone else to read the bit on passenger pigeons; I can't manage it. It's extraordinary.

Greenpa said...

sheri- my usual twist is "if it's not one thing, it's TWO." :-)

Greenpa said...

heather- :-) a bunch of our apples went right from "almost ready" to "dropped last week when you weren't looking". sigh.

Cathy- "like a lizard drinking"?? wow, thanks for the new Aussieism! Now I'm trying to figure out where that came from; never having seen a lizard drink any way except slow..

Greenpa said...

A million- whoa nellie! :-) I grew up in tropics, and wouldn't change my cold winters for anything.

Sure, it's a matter of personal taste, often, and even personal physiology; BUT- this is also an area where people have FOGOTTEN how to stay comfortable in weather that differers from total "climate control".

Here in Minnesota the LAST person to ask about how to stay warm/cozy is a native. They all suffer from "Minnesota Macho", which means repeating over and over "What cold, is it cold? I hadn't noticed." - without mittens or a hat.

As a biologist, I can tell you there are over 7 different specific things your body can do to adapt to being cold. #1 requires that you BE COLD for at least 15 minutes, and preferably shiver. Then your brain will say "ha! cold! turn up the thermostat!" and will dump a bolus of thyroxin into your blood, bumping up your metabolism.

But we've become such sissies that someone will yell at you if you're looking chilly for 30 seconds- and we seldom GET "cold" for 15 minutes at a stretch, and never find out your own body will make you comfortable if you just grit your teeth a bit.

Moms are constantly yelling at little kids playing in the snow "Put your mittens on! You'll catch pneumonia and die!" And the kids don't understand what all the fuss is about.

The kids are RIGHT. :-) They've already adapted to the cold, and mom has forgotten.

I love the cold months; including the part where you back up to the hot woodstove and warm up. And I love splitting wood in February, when the sun is shining, there's no wind, I'm working in my undershirt because I'll overheat otherwise- and it's 10 below zero. Literally.

Give it another chance? :-) Let yourself get cold; it'll warm you right up.

Kendra P said...

Greenpa I get what you're saying but I politely disagree. I think some people have a personal preference for certain temperature types. I prefer it hot. I've only ever been too hot once in my life - it was 117 degrees in Vegas. And no I'm not big on Air conditioning. I sleep with a down comforter in 90 degree weather (not a joke) w/out AC. I like it hot. In cold weather, I wear 90 layers and unless I'm being very active (i.e. snowboarding, skiing etc) I'm cold. Shivering,uncomfortably, cold. Even as I write this, wearing a flannel pajamas top, in my insulated house with no heat, I'm chilly. And I'm not anemic. Just cold blooded.

Greenpa said...

Kendra- well, sure, that certainly happens. But there are tons of folks who just never even get a real chance to find out where their own thermostat is set. :-) If you've spent time out snowboarding, you've probably had that chance. But here in Minnesota I've seen a zillion newcomers never learn, never try- they just assume they'll be miserable, and no one teaches them otherwise.