This morning after greenhouse chores were finished we headed up the road to Red Canyon Park for a walk with Shrek. There is a large flock of native turkeys that live along Garden Park Road and they crossed the road right in front of our van as we were driving along. A lot of people might not be impressed by wild turkeys, but I think they are amazing creatures. And it pleases me greatly to see them living out in the wild spaces of nature as they have always done…feels like one of the things that is right in the world!
Shrek learned how to hike yesterday without a leash and today he had his second go at it. We weren’t sure if he would stick close to us or follow his nose and get into trouble, but so far Chris has graded him at an A for doing a good job of hiking off leash.
We had a bit of snow last night, so it was a chilly walk, but so beautiful and it felt good to be out walking in fresh air. We have had a terrible cold virus in our household this past week, so we are doing our best to get over that and start to feel well again!
This week Chris and Shrek had several greenhouse projects to complete, including building new shutters over the louvers in the Plant Barn. We used to cover these louvers with styrophome sheets each night to help prevent loss of heat to cold air and wind, and that worked great, but they didn’t offer as much wind protection to plants sitting on those first benches near the shutters when the styrophome was down during the day. Last spring we lost nearly our whole melon crop to cold air moving over the first benches and being too chilly for those young plants.
You can see here how the wood shutters will work during the day and will help direct the cool air being pulled through the greenhouse by the fans up and over the benches instead of directly across them. This system should be about 300% better we think. I still have to staple bubble insulation to the plywood shutters to further improve their ability to hold in the heat well at night, but that will be a task for this week.
The other thing Chris got done today was to re-attach the ceiling conservation blanket that also helps to hold the heat in the greenhouse at night and on snowy days, and during summer it helps the fans to cool the house more effectively by keeping the heat out a little bit. This blanket is very costly, but it has saved us nearly 60% on our greenhouse heating bill for some of our greenhouses, so it is well worth the cost to purchase it.
Unfortunately, when we replaced the outer greenhouse plastic layers on the Plant Barn two weeks ago the ceiling blanket was exposed to some wind before we could get the new plastic skin installed, and the ceiling blanket suffered a bit of damage as it tore away from some of the bows. Today, Chris spent a fair bit of time re-attaching the blanket to the inner bows of the greenhouse, so that it is securely in place and back to doing it’s proper job.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will start filling this greenhouse with plants, turn on the heater at night, and off we go….spring is in business in the greenhouses here for sure now! We also have two large truckloads of soil being delivered tomorrow, so the supply barn is well on it’s way to being full and there is plenty of work now to be down.
On another subject, my husband comes up with the most unique and wonderful gifts! These are my solstice gifts and I am absolutely thrilled. He said the fairies brought the bird bath, but I know better;)
This planter pot is extra special because Chris and M’lissa went through our collection of slides from trips hiking in southern Utah and M’lissa’s time working last summer at Mesa Verde. They duplicated from our photos the petroglyphs we have all seen in those places. Chris then etched them onto this planter to create a collection of memories for me to have in my garden! Absolutely wonderful!!
Now I will spend some of the rest of this winter planning what I will plant in this planter, and starting the plants in the greenhouse so that they will be ready to plant in the pot this spring.
I hope as the year closes you will have some wonderful memories of 2013 to hold sacred. I also hope that you will be looking forward to, and planning for, the coming year with relish.
For us, we expect 2014 to be an incredibly good year. We leave 2013 behind, being in gratitude for the gifts it has given us, but also knowing that it was an exceptionally difficult year for us. We hold no regrets to leaving it behind and coming into the new year with excitement and joy.
So may it be for you!