Monday, December 21, 2015
Rejoice! Rejoice! - well, sort of...
"Good news- Bad news" stories used to be a kind of joke. Sometimes these days it can seem like "bad news-bad news" - unless you go out of your way to find some good somewhere.
The Rejoice! part- we did finally get our excellent chestnut crop stabilized, in regard to temperature and spoilage. So; in case you were holding off on ordering some- now would be the time! We had to re-invent our sorting process, find a new way to get bad nuts out; we did. Order away.
The well, sort of... - it turns out the Global Warming Grinch is quite versatile. He's getting us right now in ways I didn't mention before; but ways that can wear us out.
Our nut storage cellar is at a stable 35°, after a couple seriously cold nights; not perfect, but ok.
But now; the air temperature is back well above freezing; and our frozen soil is now covered with a nice 1/4 inch of - wet mud.
This is no joke for us; all our farm work patterns have developed on the idea this is Minnesota, and we have winter here- the ground will be either frozen hard by now; or covered in snow. We're totally prepared for either. But not for mud.
Mud makes it impossible to get vehicles around on our wonderful sod roads- they'll get ripped down into dirt, and never recover. So we wind up doing a lot of walking. If you've ever been here, you'll understand how much - our operation is spread all over 160 acres; it's 1/4 mile from the cellar to the greenhouse, where we pack nut orders; and another 1/4 mile from there to the place the cars are parked.
Livestock - plans are messed up. The Icelandic sheep thrive in snow- if there is any in the paddock, they will refuse to drink any water you provide. No snow. Have to haul water - on mud, by hand. Plus; both the sheep and the horses will turn their paddock into a pig pen- if left too long on thawed sod- ruining next year's grazing (and generating a huge field of thistles). So - we have to move them; at a time of year when that's not in the plans.
Walking on icy mud- is deadly dangerous, not a joke at all. And- it really looks like this warm Pacific air thing will run well into mid January, at least...
And our bright sun-on-snow winter days- are on the gloomy side; brown grass and bark.
But! The nuts are in good shape. And I am so NOT going to say "things could be worse..."