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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winter In The Sangre De Cristo Mountains

Winter comes fast and hard at 9,750' in S. Colorado. Earlier today I was working outside in shirt sleeves. In fact it was so nice that the area I cleared off I planted grass seed. I felt the temperature dropping and the wind picked up to 50+ MPH. Then the usual happened and the electricity went out. Then out again, and again and the wind didn't slow down at all and the snow started to fall. So I'm going to post this before the electricity goes out again. Only about an inch so far but it has not slowed up at all.
So this was a short fall season which is why I took so many photos when I had the chance. Earlier today Carol asked me to bring in the trail camera as we have had deer and elk out back for a few days. I'm not sure I can even find it now. I don't feel real bad though because Carol said she was going to pick the rest of the spinach and swiss chard and look at it now. Might be just a little late this year unless she feels like picking it during a blizzard. We do have a short growing season here. We actually have two seasons - one is the season without snow and the other is the snow season. We are quickly back in the snow season.

Counting down - only 8 more months to go until the next season starts..

Gosh, I just put the snow shovels away in June and now 4 months later winter starts all over again. Even when you get old and your memory starts to fade there is little chance of misplacing the snow shovels because they are almost always in use.


Russell said...

I am interested in those boxes you show. I assume you grow vegetables under them to keep the animals away. How in the world do they get sun? Is it hard to grow plants like that? I have dreamt of moving in the mountains and having a small subsistence farm and I wonder if that is possible now. LOL! Please tell me more about your gardening.

Bruce said...

Russell I hope I can answer your questions. Those boxes protect our vegetables from the ton of chipmunks, voles, ground squirrels and mice and pack rats. They are totally encased in hardware cloth and have worked well for several years. The cloth on top of the box allows 50% of the sun through. At 9,750' the sun can be so intense that it will burn your young plants. Since I used the sun shade it has not happened. They get sufficient sun to grow well and we have to water them often but the sun screen keeps the water from evaporating to quickly.
It has been a lot of trial and error and I have finally hit on a combination that seems to consistently work.
I think your two main obstacles would be varmints and a harsh environment. It can be done and in fact is done but preparation is important. Down in the valley at around 6,500'there are lots of farms who have great success. At this elevation the growing season is very short but with common sense it can be done. I hope that helps you as you work toward fulfilling your dream of farming in the mountains.

Pat said...

Yikes! I knew there was a reason I stayed in the south!

Amy said...

Bruce and Carol,
I just wanted to say thank you for you blog - it is a retreat for my soul every time I visit. My husband and I are saving and planning for a move to our beloved north woods of Wisconsin in 5 years, and your blog helps us to live vicariously in the meantime. Thank you!

Bruce said...

You are welcome Amy and thank you for your encouragement. I am glad that you enjoy reading about our lifestyle; we sure enjoy writing about it. It is good to hear that you are planning to move to the North woods and I hope our experiences will be helpful to you. I wish you the very best in developing your plans. I grew up in Michigan and the North woods of both Michigan and Wisconsin are beautiful as well as Minnesota.

Bruce said...

Oops, another 8" this morning. I guess that makes it official, winter has arrived.

Anonymous said...

Manuel and I may copy your gardening boxes - they look practical and quite functional! We have lots of gophers at our place. Mary Anne

Bruce said...

Mary Anne: You can copy them any time you want. They are easy to make and I milled out the wood with my mill. Any time, as long as I don't have to shovel them out...LOL