I really love January. The bitter cold, the winds, the snow–there’s something so magical about being out in a snowstorm.  Where most people lament for the sun and hot summer months, I welcome all of the cold, the wind, the ice, the snow.  It stirrs something within me–it says, “embrace the darkness of this time, go into hibernation, rest, and when the time is right, emerge into the light!”  The latter part of December and January brought the wonderful snow storms and cold.  We had about 8″ here on the ground for several weeks. Unfortunately, the cold has broken and the snows have melted. Its January 13th.  More winter must come.

But since the last few days have been warmer, I was able to open up the hoop houses and take some photos of what’s going on in the garden.  Its amazing to see that we still have so much produce available, even in the midst of the harshest of the winter months.  Here are some photos from yesterday (Jan 12th).  Zone 6, South-East Michigan.

Lima Bean eats Rye
Lima Bean eats Rye

The chickens continue to enjoy the winter rye I planted as a green manure/cover crop.  Its a great crop for them to get their greens all winter long–since little else stays green, they are often at the rye when its not covered with snow.

Lentil digs worms.
Lentil digs worms.

The chickens continue to forage the land every chance they are able. They’ve been out in our pole barn during the heavy snows (they don’t like walking on it) and so when the weather cleared up a bit, they were so happy to be out to peck and scratch again.  And have a clean coop, since I was unable to open their back door that had frozen shut to clean it for a few weeks!

Hoop House!
Hoop House!
Second hoop house!
Second hoop house!

Here are photos of my two hoop houses.  They are doing amazingly well for it being January.  The first hoop house has minzua (which has fared less well than the rest of the greens), arugula, spinach, and kale.  This one was planted later than the first–in late September–so the spinach is still pretty small, but its good.  The tricky thing about hoop house gardening is anticipating how long you can get crops to the “harvest” state, that is, when they are ready to harvest and keep them there.  This is important because hoop houses in the coldest months of the year extend the *harvest* season and not the *growing* season.   If they go dormant before they are too large, then you have small greens to eat.

The second hoop house was planted earlier in the year–mid August–so it has nice sized kale, a few leeks (which were planted in May), cabbages, and more spinach.  My rooster, Anasazi, is checking out the cabbage :).

Here are some close-up photos of the lovely veggies still growing in the hoop house.

Leeks
Leeks
Kale (outside of hoop house)
Kale (outside of hoop house)
Cabbage
Cabbage
Baby spinach
Baby spinach
Arugula
Arugula

I’ll leave you, dear blog readers, with some photos of what winter is *supposed* to look like!  These were taken last year.  I didn’t get shots of the snowstorm here because I was in PA visiting my family.

View from backyard
View from backyard
Snowy Oak Tree
Snowy Oak Tree
Our front road
Our front road

Embrace the cold and snow, my friends!

7 Comments

  1. You are a veritable treasure, my dear! What energy you have, and dedication to the noble cause of passing lightly along life’s often tortuous path!

    I, too, once lived in the States for a decade – leaving at the time when Richard M. Nixon was getting himself into a lot of trouble. It was wonderful living off the land – though I did have to buy my brown rice in the local store. However, conditions were far less challenging for me, since I chose to ensconce myself in Hawai’i.

    Bless you. May you always enjoy the health and strength to continue living in your chosen manner. I greatly enjoy hearing about your way of life – much like my own – though it’s sometimes a bit of a struggle trying to understand modern US English! (I’m still wondering about a few words in among the lovely photos above, for example: ” because they crops go dormant, your timing is good.” [?!])

    All the very best to you from Deepak.

    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment, Deepak! Blessings to you on your journey.

      I tried to clarify above what I meant above by dormancy (although the “they” should be “the” which might be part of your confusion!

      In peace,
      Dana

  2. I am unable to enthuse about cold and darkness but it has its own unique enchantment.

    1. You just have to embrace it and love it for what it is :).

  3. Can I just say how much I love your chickens’ names: Lima Bean and Lentil! Adorable!

    1. They are all beans! Lentil, Azuki, Lima, Pinto, and Anasazi. Here’s more info on them: https://druidgarden.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/chickens-and-sustainability/

  4. Wonderful blog! Love the hoop houses. 🙂

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