Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spring shouldn't be Springing...

We've been enjoying the strangest weather here at Tanglewood. This week has offered two days hovering in the mid-to-high 50's, and the rest of the week has been and will be in the 40's. My usual February activities are almost exclusively house-bound, apart from the occasional slogging of hot water to the barn if the hydrant has frozen again. 

Last year on this very date we were recovering from a snow storm that dumped feet of snow on us; I had to climb fences to get to my horses, as the gates wouldn't open in the deep snow. This year is in stark contrast, as yesterday I spent almost my entire day in a sweatshirt and muck boots, dividing berry bushes and digging holes for the 87 berry plants I've just ordered (Yikes. That number looks bigger when I type it here...) 

Today I intend to spend my time doing the same, taking a break in the mid-day to grab lunch with my brother and then slogging out to tap some Box Elder trees in the hopes that this year produces at least a little sap run despite the bizarre weather.

The crazy thing is, things are actually starting to break hibernation in this heat wave! The peach tree buds have the tiniest bit of swell to them that, if I hadn't inspected them closely last week, I would never have noticed. I have to wonder how this is going to affect our fruit production state-wide, this year. I can't imagine it's going to be good.

Crazier still, when I went outside yesterday morning and checked the pussy willows, they were tightly closed, the buds showing only minimal swelling. By noon, however, six of them had begun to swell so much that they were bursting open! This weather is strange, indeed.

Are you experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures where you live? How are the plants and animals taking it?

(Also, has anybody ever tapped Box Elder trees? I just learned that they produce a delicious sap for syrup and our place is literally plagued by them!)


  1. At first, when I looked at the photo of your gloves, I thought it was your hand. Funny thing is my only reaction was that you're clearly your (gardener) mother's (gardener) daughter.

  2. I live in Oregon and we have had unseasonably warm weather as well. I looked at my grape vines the other day and realized they were getting fuzzy around the buds like budbreak is about to happen, which is just a couple months too early. Totally not right! I fear for agriculture this year. Going to be off, at very least.

  3. I understand that box elders are in the maple tree family, and any maple tree will produce sap that can be reduced for syrup--although the sugar maple is the king of all.