New Year's Eve!

The new year arrives in a couple of hours! We'll be celebrating hard as always: in bed by 10 after downing copious amounts of water and/or herbal tea. In reality, the transition to 2018 is bringing a bit of anxiety to me, but also excitement. Because the regular growing season at PFP always started at the very beginning of March, I feel a mostly irrational pressure to have EVERYTHING farm-related prepared and ready to run by then. Realistically, this is unnecessary, although having a greenhouse up by then will be immensely helpful (and possible!). Lately, the cold has continued. I don't think the temperature is going to surpass the zero Fahrenheit mark for the duration of this weekend. Still, we've gotten out a tiny bit for some brisk fresh air: we walked south of Downsville on the Red Cedar State Trail, and in the process learned that the 8-mile stretch from Downsville to Menomonie is a dedicated cross-country ski trail during winter, and is even groomed! What this means is: I must procure skis by next winter, at least. I would love to share photos from the trail; however, an allergic condition I've experienced a bit before has flared up now that both the air and water in our house is so cold. When my hands are exposed to rapid temperature changes (and mostly really cold or hot water, I think), hives and swelling develop on my fingers. This means gloves inside when one wouldn't normally expect them, lots of lotion, and fewer outdoor photos. There are a few I recently took on the farm, including this from atop the tower that was once a windmill:

P1000439

It's pretty great up there, my only complaint being the thinness of the ladder, which feels as though it will slice through my boot. The boots are strong though! They've lasted since high school and are still in amazing shape, somehow.

What's going on with the farm? First, lots of seed ordering. It's still early, but we've received some of the seeds we ordered, with still a bit more to do, and much perennial research, deciding on types and sources of seed for woody perennials that will supply firewood, mulch, and/or nitrogen fixation. I include this photo to remind myself and others that summer crops will indeed grow again! It seems hard to believe in the midst of such a deep freeze; apples and yarn are present as a reminder of the current season.

P1000448

An initial order of irrigation supplies for the vegetable field has been completed, which is super exciting for me. In 1 to 2 weeks we should receive the shipment, which includes most of what we will need to set up a simple system that runs from the animal barn, across the gully, and will supply the field with water using sprinklers and drip irrigation. I am excited to expand the system as we likely expand our growing space for our second growing season; that should require minimal additional material, which is wonderful! N. has been identifying some local nurseries, which I am very excited about, and we have begun thinking about the few varieties of trees we will purchase as we start a very modest orchard in the pasture area.

Finally, Rose has been sleeping ALL DAY lately, and into the night. We've begun allowing her full access to the basement, and her scurrying about suggests that she's busy in pursuit of rodent friends. So far she's delivered 2 specimens and perhaps needs to recharge before a third.

P1000445

Happy New Year!

-pppppppp