A spring snow

About three inches of snow fell last night. Coarse, wet, heavy spring snow. On nights like these Ben and I tag-team through the night to keep the high tunnel and greenhouse free of snow. He stays up to the wee hours, and then sets an early morning alarm for me.

This morning, the greenhouse looked like an abandoned museum exhibit, with the dim first rays filtering through the poly walls to settle on the gossamer row cover draped over our seedlings. Many of them are garden starts to sell at our first markets in April. There are tomatoes, of course, and lettuce, and three generations of basil, herbs and flowers. But there are farm seedling there too. All of the farm eggplants and peppers have been seeded, most of the spring brassicas, our first tomatoes, and our chard. We will seed more today–our second generation of farm lettuce, the first dill, and flowers for sales, including, incredibly, the first sunflowers.

This last night, the snowy one, was the first that we dared to leave all of our cold-sensitive seedings out in the greenhouse. Last week we risked first one flat, then four, before we felt confident enough in our wood stove and the little electric heater under the bench. There is no perfect solution; either we carry sensitive flats in every night, disturbing roots, exposing them to our next clumsy move, and depriving the plants of the first rays of the sun, or we risk that cold, or chilling injury, sets them back.

There are also seedlings in the bakery. Yesterday the rye sprouted, and today, wheat. I am working on developing a dense, Danish-style dark pan bread, which is a complete departure from most of the bread I make. I am going for toothy, dark, and moist, a bread that makes a meal with bit of smoked trout and dill. It is recipe-development time at Little Hat Creek Farm. I’m learning the behavior of flours from Carolina Ground and Woodson’s mill, tweaking current recipes, and increasing my repertoire of skills. This will be the first sprouted grain I have tried. Last week I experimented with fermenting flaked grains before mixing them into dough, which resulted in an impossibly tender crumb in the barley almond bread.

So go ahead and snow old man, you can’t stop the force of spring that has begun. It may look, and feel, like winter out there, but the true story is told by the first daffodil two days ago, the expanding buds on our Nanking cherries, and the little peepers peeping their spring song.

4 thoughts on “A spring snow

  1. Eva.Kollmar@t-online.de

    Dear Heather,   I enjoy so much reading about every little and big thing that is marking your and Ben´s path through the year on your farm. Having grown up in rural Wisconsin and – along with parents and sisters – tending the farm of friends ( with very much the same understanding of ecology as you have) each summer during their vacation, I  can beam myself  happily into your kind of environment.   Here in Munich we´ve had no winter whatsoever, not a single coat of snow or ice to skid along on.  The Forthysia are blooming and all sorts of spring flowers and since the water outside doesn´t get turned on until May, I`m lugging water by the pailfull.   I´m up to my ears in bureaucratic things and preparation for the next group exhibitions.  Also, because of water damage from above, all the terrace windows will have to be replaced this year – the next construction site. My old kitchen succumbed to its 40 years of wear and was replaced last year with a new one – Halleluja!   My New Yorker family along with a school friend of my 17 year old grandson Max spent their 3 week vacation with me in August.  After that, the kitchen, after that for the Oktoberfest Parade and Berlin with my Fond du Lac school friend JoAnn witrh her husband. Look up Wollersheim Winery in Wisconsin if you like. I promised you pictures and more infos on what´s going on here but right now circumstances keep me tardy with everything.  I´m not forgetting though !   Happy to be in touch and herzliche Grüße an Euch ! Eva  

    1. junipinyon Post author

      So great to hear new from you, Eva! It sounds like you’re keeping busy with fun things. I would love to see some pictures when you are able to take a deep breath! Do you have any of your latest work, and your new kitchen? I have the fondest memories from the time we spent in that kitchen, and the wonderful food that emerged from it–from that first steaming pot of goulash to the South African buttermilk chocolate cake that is *still* my go-to chocolate cake. You know, I call it Eva’s chocolate cake now. My, such strange weather you’ve had. The forsythias aren’t even blooming here yet, but I think of Munich’s climate as being much more similar to that of southern Ontario! I’m sorry I’ll miss your visit to the northeast. Perhaps you can come visit sometime–we’d love to see you! Eine grosse Umarmung! Heather

    1. junipinyon Post author

      Yay seedlings, indeed! I love them so much I could stand and look at them all day. I love seeing how they change from day to day, how their little true leaves start to show the world what they will eventually become. And imagining, marveling, at how one day soon they will bear delicious fruit and feed me and my community. It really seems like a miracle when you look at a little seedling.


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