Cautiously Optimistic…

It’s what doctors say to people or the loved ones of people who have some crazy illness no one can pronounce, and the nutso experimental, last-resort drug appears to be doing something positive. But that’s what I am about the life-support my tender little veggies are on right now: cautiously optimistic.

Having abandoned large jugs of hot water as a method of keeping my plants alive during this prolonged deep-freeze (what a pilot friend of mine would call a “Wx Event”), I turned instead to something that didn’t require back-breaking labor AND promised better results: Christmas lights. Shiny, sparkly miniature incandescent strings of Christmas lights. Pure genius stolen from another website, it took the threat of losing all my vegetables to unpack our Christmas lights for the first time in several years. (Far be it from me to actually use them for Christmas.)

Saving the veggies

I only had three outdoor extension cords, so I chose the three beds that had vegetables that were the furthest along: onions, carrots, lettuce and radish sprouts… all got two strings of lights and at least two layers of blanket. When I checked late today, cautiously peeking under the blankets, the onions, carrots and radish sprouts were all happy as could be. A fourth bed, one with seeds planted a little over a week ago, merely got blankets and a hearty “good luck!” from me. And when I checked that bed, the soil was frozen near the edges, whereas the soil in the “lit” beds was not only not frozen, it was slightly warm and still damp.

Just for fun, too, I built a roaring fire in the fire pit yesterday evening, as well as today when work was called off (no power). The idea was to heat the rocks and dirt nearby and add a few degrees of radiated heat to the surroundings, as well as warm some of the water in the jugs I was placing near the unlit bed. Mostly I think it warmed only me and the railroad iron I tossed in for fun:

Red hot!

The warm fire gave me a bit of a basecamp to return to after venturing forth to photograph frostweed. This extended cold has produced some of the best frostweed “blooms” I’ve ever seen. As best I can tell, they keep extruding sap as long as it’s cold enough, making ever grander forms that seem to keep growing. I did measure one, so I’ll compare tomorrow to see if it has.

Frostweed, Feb 2011

Frostweed, Feb. 2011

Frostweed, Feb. 2011

Frostweed definitely “grows” the longer it remains cold:

That formation was roughly 8 inches the day before this photo was taken. A day later, it was about 14 inches.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: