Freeze

February 13, 2021

With all the freezing cold weather we have been having the birds have been stripping my feeders on a regular basis.  I have been refilling them every two or three days.  That meant I had run out of all three types of feed I have been putting out.  I purchased a bag of black-oil sunflower earlier this week but decided to make a run to the tractor store yesterday.  I wanted to see if I could find bigger bags for the squirrel mix and the small grain mix.  Sure enough, I found 20# bags of both and they were on sale.  While this was only a savings of $1, it was still half as much as I had paid at the grocery.  Hopefully, this will last until the weather starts to thaw.

Before this week’s freeze warning I had been toying with the idea of getting some early plants and putting them out on our greenhouse porch.  I realize February is too soon to put them outside but thought putting them on the porch might give them a head start on the growing season.  I have some leftover seed and I considered putting it in last year’s tomato buckets to see if I could get them to sprout.  When I got to the tractor store, I found they had several flats of cabbage plants displayed in front of the store.  These were sitting outside in the sun.  The only problem was, it was 20F and the previous rains had frozen over the entire batch of flats.  We are predicted to continue to have freezing rain and snow over the next week.  Perhaps I should wait on getting my early start.

When I mentioned the frozen cabbages to Melissa, she told me they should be ok if they were not frozen for too long.  I was skeptical and looked online to see if this was the case.  The site said frost and freezing generally occurs in the late fall when the temperatures drop and there is more abundant moisture.  While this will damage many vegetables, hardy and semi-hardy varieties can sustain temperatures as low as 20F without being killed. The hardy vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, leeks, rutabagas, and turnips.  While a freeze may kill the leafy tops of rooted vegetables, mulched crops will survive throughout the winter.  That is unless voles discover your cache and beat you to the harvest. 

Thoughts:  When I went to the grocery store today to prepare for a Valentine’s Day meal, I was not surprised to find many of the shelves bare.  While the milk was fully stocked, the bread and cheese had been decimated.  Many of the carts were filled with bottled water and other staples.  I find it humorous what some find to be essential items during a storm.  I am always amazed (not surprised) how the threat of snow or freeze causes humans to act the same as my birds.  Both of us stock up on food supplies “just in case.”  The news said the local homeless shelters are also preparing for the freeze, vowing “no one will be turned away.”  This announcement must be to make me feel better, as few homeless outside the shelters have access to a TV.  This is always a hard time to be on the streets.   The need for food, clothing, and warmth are year-round, even if intensified during a freeze.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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