The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Spring slowdown

Snow on daffodils

Last year at this time, the strawberries were blooming, we were mowing the lawn for the first time, and we even watered a few garden beds to get seeds to come up quicker.  In contrast, the last week has brought two days of snow, more days of cold rain, and a fifteen-degree night.
Early spring grass
You can see what our grass currently looks like --- just barely starting to regrow in spots, but mostly winter-brown.  The only cultivated plants blooming are daffodils and crocuses, and I'm wishing I'd been more sparing of firewood  earlier in the year since I'm enjoying the warmth from the last of our dry wood as I type.

Warre hive entrance

The honeybees are just starting to have enough food to make it worth their while to be out flying.  In addition to the hazel bushes, other wild, wind-pollinated trees are starting to open their flowers, providing quite a bit of the high-value protein and fat source (pollen), if no ready sugars (nectar).  In the yard, purple dead-nettle, speedwell, and a few dandelions are serving up the earliest nectar, but it's a foraging expedition not a buffet.  Mostly, though, the bees are staying put because the temperatures have been too cold for hunting.

Gooseberry leaf

The Invicta Gooseberry is starting to leaf out, and a few pear buds have broken, but most of the rest of our perennials are barely accepting that spring is supposed to be here.

Swelling blueberry buds

Swelling peach budBlueberry buds are swelling, but not so much they seem daunted by the cold weather.  Similarly, peach flower buds are just barely starting to break dormancy, although many have clearly been nipped by the cold winter before this point.  (The photo to the left shows a dead flower bud on the far left, a living leaf bud in the center, and a living flower bud on the right.)

The moral of the story is that the garden is telling me to slow things down, so I am.  Even though I have broccoli and onion sets ready to go into the garden, there's no point transplanting them until the lows rise to the high 20s at least.  Maybe next week....

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock contented while they wait for spring.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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