Preparing for “a long winter’s nap”

20151215_103737_resizedWe scrambled to put our lavender (and our five fig plants) to bed before last week’s snowfall. We covered more than a hundred plants with straw and extended a temporary fence to keep animals from crushing them over the winter. Hidcote and Munstead have proven to be hardy in our climate, but protecting them from desiccating winter winds will help prevent die-back and give the plants a head start on spring growth. We could have covered them sooner, but the micro-climate that benefits our hillside valley acreage gives our plants a few more precious weeks to harden off before real frigid temperatures set in.

Most of our heirloom apples trees their crop weeks ago, but a few stubborn holdouts remain. Not far from the carriage house, a Gravenstein variety tempts us with green-red fruit just out of reach. Near the duck house, one of the “three sisters” is still covered with sweet red apples that we’re storing in pallet-bins to supplement the goat’s rations well into February. The ducks prefer fallen apples, mushy and soft from the recent freeze and thaw cycles.

20151216_094859_resizedLast week’s snow cover is mostly gone now, melted off by warm rains and short bursts of sunshine the past few days. From now through Christmas, we can (thankfully) look forward to above-freezing temperatures in the daytime with an occasional snow flurry. After last year’s grueling winter, I’m happy to spend the holidays snow-less.

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