The last couple of days we’ve had freeze warnings here. We did take them to heart, but we really didn’t think it would get as low as it did. I have the NOAA weather application on my phone, and it is pretty accurate about the warnings that it gives. I have it programmed for Ramona and for Hereford. So, while Ramona warnings were all about wind and extreme fire danger, ours were about freezing temperatures.
It did end up freezing the last couple of nights. There wasn’t any frost – not enough moisture in the air really, but the temperatures dropped into the low 20°’s and things like, chicken waterers, duck ponds, plants, etc. froze. We covered the citrus, I think I said that earlier this week, and they survived just fine, but I didn’t think that I’d need to cover the plants that were under the porch awning or down in the protected oak shade garden. Shoulda, woulda, coulda — didn’t. All of the tomatoes that I thought might last long enough to see their remaining fruits ripen, have frozen to yucky nothin’s. I was able to salvage one green tomato that didn’t seem to completely freeze; it may continue to ripen. The Schefflera plant that was under the porch awning and had been coming back so well from last years wind burn, just totally tanked. I’m hoping it’s strong enough to recover yet again. Poor little thing. The fig tree wasn’t prepared at all and it’s leaves just shriveled. Usually it’ll loose them during the winter, but gradually while turning a beautiful golden color – but not this year! We also lost the newest lavender plant and most of our marigolds. I was hoping they’d get more established in the gabion gardens before we had such a hard freeze. However, so many things did really well! All the new broccoli and the cabbage did great! Some of the cilantro seeds and the garlic and onion bulbs that were planted had started to come in and it looks like they weren’t phased at all by the cold. Neither were the other bulb type flowers that we have coming up. The cabbage that we planted last winter, and just were regrowing as an experiment (almost eaten down to nothing by the grasshoppers and now coming back yet again) did just fine, as did the rosemary and oregano. That’s a photo of the old cabbage. It doesn’t look pretty, but it keeps coming back and putting on little heads. We use them to feed the chickens. Reminds me of Brussels sprouts (did you know it was spelled like that? Is it a possessive??? – whatever). They are a cabbage cultivar after all. Anyway, it’s good to know what will last through the winter and what will not. I’m tempted to put out some more cabbages, broccoli and maybe some Brussels sprouts. I am glad that I didn’t try the lettuce, it would have just been coming in and would not have survived the freeze at all. Sue and I were talking today about making a really small half hoop cover to go just inside the walls of the gabion gardens to help on extremely cold nights.
Back the to the chicken part of all this. Everyone seemed to fare just fine in the cold. The coop no longer has the heat lights in the brooder, but the little layers seems to be ok this morning. It looked like most of them had bedded down in the straw on the top brooder and snuggled together. That’s good. Some of the water was frozen this morning, but none of what we put in the coop was frozen. We’re thinking of putting the water on the little’s side inside the green chicken tractor that Dad made, so that it doesn’t freeze tonight – although it’s supposed to be quite a bit warmer. Sue had placed an extra window against the escape hatch and temporarily put plastic on one end, and when I checked the water in there today, it was noticeably warmer. The duck ponds and open tubs of water just had a thin skim of ice on them this morning that was easily broken. The ducks were a bit funny, though, this morning when they were testing out the water and couldn’t break through with their bills. Not exactly what they’d been expecting to find. this morning, Sue gave the goat boys another layer of fresh hay in their house, which will keep them nice and warm. It was pretty deep in there already, but this is just another added protective layer. Hopefully we’ll be able to simply add hay through the winter and then do a spring cleaning later. For the most part, now, I think we’re fortified against the cold. We know what will happen in the extreme cold spells and what we need to cover for the future. We’ll see how things turn out, won’t we? Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: Our high today was 63°; there always seemed to be some breeze/wind throughout the day and that made it seem more like low 50’s or so. Tonight the sunset is at 5:18 p.m.; sunrise, tomorrow, at 7:09 a.m.
Egg Report: Yesterday we had 1 Duck and 15 chicken eggs. Today we had the one duck… good ol’ duck, and 11 chicken eggs. We didn’t see that any were eaten, but they may have been very good at covering up the evidence.