Goods, Bad and the Ugly

We felt pretty lucky heading into this winter season with lots of stores (goods) in our above ground root closet. It is a stick frame place inside our back barn that is surrounded by hay bales. It works great … to a point!

We kept it simple this year and decided to store only squash, leeks and potatoes. The squash and potatoes are in bins and the leeks are in light soil with roots and greens intact.

Well … the leeks are doing great. Onions, btw, didn’t make it into the closet. They are still on the green house benches where they were curing. They have frozen and thawed and froze again, but they currently are very edible! Potatoes are a disaster. We used to keep them in our bedroom in the winter, and┬áthey often sprouted early, but this plan didn’t work at all. Just mush. The negative temperatures got the best of us. Today, for example, we woke up to -7. Don’t get me started on windchill … that just makes it feel worse! Same with the acorn squash ­čśŽ ┬áSome of the Delicata seems like it might be OK, but we’ll see. So, a lot of work growing stuff and storing it in the closet just┬áto make┬ácompost. Arrrgh.

We know that all we need to do is put a tiny heat source in there, like a light bulb or a heat tape, but the extension cord to get it in there scares us completely. So our fear of fire has kept us from proactively keeping the space from freezing. Last year we tried putting warm water bottles in there (literally soda bottles filled with hot water), and I think it helped, but that nightly chore was rigorous (no door … take down some bales, remove a panel, restore bales) and one missed night was the end of it. Since we travel during winter, there was inevitably that one night.

OK, next year, we try again. Maybe it is back to the bedroom. Or, maybe we don’t store anything and pack ourselves off to Florida!


Sunshine on My Shoulders

“Makes me happy…”

Even though the thermometer is on the negative side of things. And the snow is gorgeous even if it isn’t melting! Snow mobile folks are zipping by, taking advantage of the few feet of snow on the path. I enjoy seeing them. To me they seem like they could be adventurers coming from anywhere. The trail actually begins as far away as Vermont and I imagine the intrepid travelers continuing on to trails end days later.

I get saddened by the land-owners who ban the snow mobiles from their property even though the trails have been there for a while. The other day we saw new yellow caution tape┬ákeeping riders off of a trail, and worse, spikes on the trail if riders ignored the ribbons. I wonder what prompted such aggressive actions. I’ve seen trail signs that say “respect landowners” and figure that they wouldn’t be printing them if there weren’t a good reason. It’s too bad. Because even though I imagine these riders as travelers from afar, they are mostly just neighbors.

I’m a walker, not a rider so I don’t have the complete perspective, but I’m happy to share my woodlands with people who respect the space and don’t damage it.

I suppose I have seen the better side of snow mobiling and our land has not gotten abused. Our neighbors who organize the local trails mark the trails well now and riders tend to stay on the right path. But now I also see the riders being forced off the trail and they have to ride a good distance on the road because a different neighbor banned them from his property. What used to be a pretty dip down a snow covered hill and over a tree-lined ridge has now become a leg of the journey that requires extra alertness on the part of snow mobilers and automobile drivers. Seems unnecessary. We have so much room to get along.

I think we are back …

It’s been a whJake in the Woodsile since I posted. Almost two years and a lot happened during those two years. But here we are again on the brink of spring and really looking forward to it. The only hint that spring is really on its way is that daylight now stretches into dinner hour. Yay! But outside the world is blanketed in a few feet of snow and the trees look dazzling in their winter outfits. I, however, am sick of my winter outfit but Jake looks fine in his. His orange collar keeps him visible and safe when we go exploring.