Biding time

God my father gave me fire, and no man is going to tell me I can't use it.

Nothing chases the cold out of your bones like a fire.

 

Of course, record low temperatures, and the ninnies over at Butte County Air Quality are telling us to put out our fires. Remember, these bans are not based on air quality readings, they are based on the assumption that in weather like this everybody will burn. They also assume we all have bad habits, don’t clean our chimneys, don’t burn dry seasoned wood, and they assume we all pack it before we go to bed so it smokes through the night. I used to do all those things when I was a new user, but education saved the day. They need to educate, not harass. Here you see, I am not using a chimney so I don’t have to worry about the creosote, I’m using damned dry wood, cleaned up from my lot, and I’m burning it right down to ashes, which I spread on my compost pile. 

I keep forgetting, they’re not out to fix our air quality – or they’d be installing Jethro’s giant fan up on Shasta, to drive all that crap right back to Sacramento and points south, where it is actually generated. And, most of the pollutants generated here come from Highway 99, that’s a fact. They only placed the burn ban – remember this – to secure grants to pay their salaries and benefits.

So, burn baby burn, or they’re laugh all the way to the bank with your UT takings.

My little plastic house worked. These lettuce plants slowed down a little when temps got really down there, but picked up again as soon as the cold snap was over.

My lettuce bins made it through that cold snap in my little plastic house.

 

During that cold snap we spent a few evenings out in front of our little green house, with our portable fireplace going gangbusters outside the door.  Then we’d  carry the disc full of hot coals into the greenhouse and set it on the gravel floor before bed. We took Weatherman’s advice and put some old house lamps inside too, left them on all night. You could actually feel the difference. The cold did slow things down, the plants stayed small for the better part of a week. But as soon as the temperatures started warming the slightest bit, I started getting a big salad every day.

I've got several different varieties of lettuce here, add carrots, celery, and one of the little tomatoes I saved under the counter, and you got a taste of Summertime.

I’ve got several different varieties of lettuce here, add carrots, celery, and one of the little tomatoes I saved under the counter, and you got a taste of Summertime.

 

I got a mix of seeds, and I find, the romaine and the crinkly red ones do the best right now, but the others are tagging right along.

The romain in the foreground gives me a lot of salad every day. It doesn't seem to care about the cold temps, while a couple of the leafier types actually got a little burned.

The romain in the foreground gives me a lot of salad every day. It doesn’t seem to care about the cold temps, while a couple of the leafier types actually got a little burned.

 

Outside the greenhouse, I have my succulents. My aloe vera, Al, started to get burned in the greenhouse, so every night I stow it in the garage, and every morning I drag it out on the porch. Whatever – when you’ve kept something like that alive for a number of years, it starts to seem like a member of the family.  Aloe vera are so sensitive – one night of frost and a 20 year old plant is mush.  Meanwhile, I wrapped my nopals in a big sheet of freeze cloth, they look like ghosts in a tent. I’m afraid to unwrap them again, they got burned pretty bad last year, spent the summer getting big again. So every couple of days I stick my head and a hose in there and give them a drink. The strawberries in there are going to town. I’ll have to get the old “mother” plants out of the pots when the weather warms up and transplant some of their numerous babies into their places.

The onions and garlic I put in raised beds were frozen solid during the snap, but when I noticed they were getting burned, I just watered them good. They look great now, especially the garlic.

Nature is our friend, Earth is our mother. Did you know, apples and other fruits need a certain number of really cold days in order to bear fruit properly? After a few good cold snaps last year, and a dry winter, we got the biggest peach, apple and citrus harvests we have ever had, including some oranges I found on a little tree my husband planted out of the way a few years ago. I stumbled on them yesterday, my husband had wrapped the tree, and they were all in there, just as good as gold. I will be squeezing some of them this morning for a Good Morning Juanita – orange juice, yogurt, bananas, pineapple slice and juice – blend that,  and WOOOOOO-OOOOO-WEEEE!

Back to the old grindstone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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