That's not dandruff, folks. It's been snowing!! And we all know that snow is one of Aengus' favorite snacks.
We covered the garden with straw just a few short days ago, knowing that cold weather was on the way.
Boy was that good timing! It doesn't snow very often in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, the mountains get covered with it this time of the year, and the ski resorts are always happy when the icy winds begin to blow, but we live extremely close to salt water, so snow is a rare treat for us.
Year-round gardening is usually simple in this region. We currently have one cold frame to see some plants through the winter, but you can see the leeks (in the bed on the left) holding up well even in this sub-freezing weather. The strawberries, just to the right of the leeks and garlic (which has yet to sprout), were still giving us ripe berries only last week. The blueberries (in the foreground) have turned a lovely shade of deep red. There are carrots, turnips, rutabaga, and kohlrabi growing in the uncovered bed, and a few small pots of strawberry runners are in the cold frame bed. Everything else has been put to sleep for the winter.
Straw is a really simple way to cover raised beds and garden space this time of year. It's very inexpensive (usually about $7 per bale), and we use lots of it in the chicken coop anyway, so it's always on hand. I only wish the bales weren't so messy. In the spring, we'll pull all that mulch off the beds and toss it into the paths for extra weed control. It sometimes sprouts a little hay grass when it rains, but it creates a very effective weed barrier.
Is it time to pull out the doggie sweaters, too? We've been baking brownies and making homemade chicken noodle soup all weekend to keep the house toasty warm. It's supposed to drop down into the very low 20's tonight, and it probably won't get above freezing until Wednesday. Here's to hot cocoa and fuzzy wool sweaters!!