Wednesday, January 20, 2016

As if I didn't have enough to do already...

So, Green Wizards are people committed to preserving old-fashioned ways of doing things, a sort of more practical version of the Society for Creative Anacronism. While blacksmithing, et al, is a useful skill and such-like craftsmen from the SCA tradition are welcome, the Green Wizards are looking more to preserve home-making and small business skills, such as canning food, or paper ledger double entry bookkeeping. Anything that pre-dates computers and industrial-style mass production, such as type setting and paper making, for another example, or bookbinding. So 3-D printing using plastics isn't really what we're looking for, wood carving and ceramic dinnerware is. A sort of home economics (and small businessess, too) of the sort no longer taught in schools. We had our very small inagural meeting last Thursday at Common Grounds coffee house.

Anyone who would like to put us on your schedule, we will be meeting alternate Thursdays at 7pm, mostly at Common Grounds or other locally owned coffee shops. The next meeting is scheduled for January 28th. All are welcome, even if you have no such skills and are just interested in preservation or are looking to learn. See you there!

PS - The Green Wizards webpage can be found at:

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Will this be the year without a winter?

I hope not. Today is January 3rd, 2016. Surely the weather will turn colder soon. We are in a cool snap right now, with temps in the 30s, but it is supposed to go back up to near 50 later this week, so who knows?

The weather has been so odd that we still have green plants in the strawberry bed:

The raspberries still have some green leaves on them:

And the wild violets are still blooming:

And the rose bush still has green leaves on it, the kale is still lush and green, as are the scallions, and the celery is still green, too:

Even the lemon balm is still holding its own, and it's on the shady side of the house!

Out front, we have volunteer cilantro and even a spinach plant still green and healthy looking, as well as the rest of the herbs in the other box, all of which should be dormant except the sage and the rosemary. The rosemary, in fact, is blooming!

And in the side yard, we still have green leaves on the blackberries.

Needless to say, this is zone seven and everything not "evergreen" should be either deep into dormancy (perennials) or dead as a doorknob (annuals) - but they aren't. What does this mean if the weather stays mild?

One, bugs. Lots of bugs next year. So far, there has not been a sufficient sustained hard freeze to kill many of them hiding or burrowing near the surface (or eggs laid that way).

Two, damage to trees and bushes. Things that bud too early will inevitably be harmed when a real cold snap hits later. There may be little to no fruit depending on how this plays out.

Critters - they will continue to root around as long as the weather is mild, long after they should have been hibernating for the winter or migrating off to other places. And they'll be hungry.

Garden planning nightmares... What is the correct time to plant spring plants that prefer cool temps if the weather is going to jack up to the 80s in April? According to the NOAA forecasters, the next few months should remain warmer and dryer than normal:

So the next question is...when to put the rain barrels back in? Unclear. After any danger of hard freeze damage and before it rains a lot. Your guess is as good as mine right now.