There are two greenhouses here on the farm. The small house is the potting house where we plant the seeds and get them started. The big house, 22′ x 52′, is where the plant flats go once they are sprouted and for hardening off prior to planting in the ground. Here we start planting sets in the middle of March. We start with lettuce, kale, cabbage, collards, broccoli, onions and leeks, all of which will be planted out in the field beginning in April. These winds we’re having are about a month and a half earlier than the calendar would expect. It is just amazing to spend a day in the wind, when even the smallest thing you carry becomes a sail. I planned to move the big greenhouse to a new spot to rotate out the ground and let it rest. The wind moved it for me last night. This is the first time that I’ve seen such a thing! The big house cart-wheeled over, out of the way. I took one look at it this morning and had to laugh. The damage was minimal and my thought was, ok, the hand of god is moving things along. It would have been great if it was placed right where I needed it but I’ll take the help. Rather than putting me behind in the season this actually moves me ahead of schedule by a month with a good full day’s work already done.
I grew up hearing Montague referred to as ”the icebox of New Jersey”. Back in the mid-sixties I remember it being really cold but even then I loved winter. And, when no one was going to be on the farm I remember helping to shut off the water and drain everything while adding antifreeze to the toilets. Good snow fall and cold temperatures are valuable to the farm as part of mother nature’s tool kit for managing disease. Well, this morning when I read the outside thermometer at -12.6 ºF ( yes that’s a minus) I knew for certain that we would need to be thawing something out. Funny enough, the drain for the sink and tub at the house were frozen shut and the water supply to the toilet and sink in the bathroom in the office were frozen solid. So, we have one working bathroom between the two; good to go. At the Hainesville Store two miles down Rt 206 is a state weather data station that has a plaque on the wall declaring the coldest temperature recorded in New Jersey. I don’t remember what exactly it was but take my word for it, -12º below zero is cold enough for me. The chickens, geese, and cows are all doing fine and so are we. With plenty of firewood and work to keep me busy getting ready for planting season I can enjoy the beauty of our frigid world.