Sunday, December 5, 2010

Goodbye Summer's Work; Hello Winter's Rest (aka Armchair Gardening)

A lot has happened since my last, mid-September post. A season has come and gone. Jack Frost arrived, but was followed by a long, WARM first half of November. Harvests were completed, snow fell, and finally, the seed catalogs appeared in the mail. The garden has been put to sleep for the winter, the chickens have been tucked into their cold-weather coop, and I have begun the happy task of armchair gardening. Next year's garden, of course, will be perfect!

The last Billings Yellowstone Valley Farmer's Market took place on October 2nd. We enjoyed beautiful weather on that fall Saturday, and market patrons came out in droves to bid the season adieu. I couldn't believe that, after 2009's early and extreme cold snap, I was still picking tomatoes almost into mid-October.

A killing frost finally did arrive on the night of October 12.

But weather that was generally warm (read: tshirts and shorts into the 11th month of the year!) continued, giving me a much needed chance to play catch-up on all of the fall chores that seemed so impossible to get done while the market was still going. Cover-crop seeding, root crop harvesting, the collection of leaves for compost and so much more.

(And yes, I do work too. Jim just never takes pictures, so he's always the one IN them, working...:-D).

The second half of November finally brought with it the sub-zero temps that we all knew were eventually inevitable. The chickens appreciated getting to clean up the immature corn off the old stalks, and a few even got into a game of shadow puppets once I got their heat lamp plugged in!

Now, the garden sleeps under its white blanket, and I get to enjoy the woodstove's heat while I plan 2011's perfect garden. To quote Pam Gerwe, one of my favorite fellow gardeners: "Next year, I'm not going to start saying "next year...." until at least July." That sounds like a good plan. Cheers taught me more than I could have (or would have wanted to) imagine. Here's to 2011.....

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