"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Definitely Winter

On my way home yesterday
This is the second morning of 19° F.  I don't care what the official date on the calendar is, this is winter. There won't be any letting the fire in the wood stove die out by 10:00 and not lighting it again until 18:00 or so.  I would be happy if we get a few more short warm ups between now and January, but I'm not going to count on it.  Even with an electric heater on the front porch/greenhouse, the temp still dropped to 25°.  Lost the three tomato plants.  I will have to come up with something better, and that means out in the yard.

Brussel sprouts
I am truly amazed at how the cruciferous vegetables are so hardy in such cold. The broccoli, and cabbage and Brussel sprouts only wilt a little bit, but by the afternoon they are looking perky again.  I know that won't last unless I cover them.  That's going to have to be done today, or I'll just have to harvest what I have and be done with it.

I've been collecting and cutting deadfall wood as much as possible.  There is an amazing amount of good stuff like that just off the roads around here.  By "good" I actually mean hardwoods and not just pine, although I don't have any problem burning pine, it's just that you don't want to use it at night when you need stuff that burns slowly.

Black Walnut from July 2010
I have a couple of maple trees along the south edge of the property near the road that need to be thinned down.  They cast too much shade across the yard where I could be growing more edible stuff.  This past summer I took out the black walnut tree.  In case you didn't know, even without the shade factor, you can't grow food crops anywhere near a black walnut.  They put out enzymes that poison any competing plants except for the hardiest of weeds.  If you are a lover of any equine animals, or some other hooved species you probably already know that the sawdust from many fruiting hardwood trees are poisonous to horses and some other animals.  It took three months for the chemical burn marks to disappear from my legs, because I was foolish enough to be cutting up that tree with a chain saw while wearing shorts when it was hot.  I couldn't wait for fall, as I needed to be able to grow stuff where that tree was casting shade and defending its roots.

From now on, I'll do all my tree felling in the late fall or winter, when it makes sense to be bundled up during the day.  The other advantage is that the wood is drier and there are no leaves to deal with.  There is another black walnut that stands over near the storage shed out in front of some dogwood and azaleas.  It needs to go this month as well.  In case you are wondering if they produced nuts; well, yes. But these are wild native trees and have not been cultivated to produce quality nuts.  What nuts had fallen from the tree the previous years are mostly shell and little meat, which makes them pretty much only fit for the squirrels.  When it comes to food production, they just aren't worth allowing to take up precious growing space, and that means a good ten feet beyond the radius of the drip line. When I lived in Florida, I found it funny that yankees didn't understand that citrus trees need regular attention and cultivation to produce good fruit.  Even the best varieties will produce sour fruit if not fertilized properly, and they need to be pruned well every year for good yield.

  I remember my sister coming for a visit from Ohio back in the mid 80's one summer.  We hadn't seen each other since she was 16 and I was 11 and she had left our home in Michigan. I'd been living in central Florida since I was 12 when the family moved to Lakeland.  She flew in to Orlando International from Cleveland and I picked her up to bring her back to Bartow.  As we passed miles of dead standing orange trees that were along I-4, she finally asked what they were.
     "Orange trees."
     "Why do they look so bad?"
     "They're dead."
     "Are you kidding?  Didn't you hear about the bad freezes we had here a couple of years ago?"
     "I thought that just killed the fruit.  I was wondering why the news made it sound like such a big deal."
     "It is a big deal.  The trees are dead.  Years of careful cultivation.  Trees don't start producing fruit until about seven years of age.  And that's a very small yield until they get a few years older than that.  With a mild freeze you can just harvest the fruit and get it to a juice processing plant right away as long as it's ripe.  You are seeing millions and millions of dollars worth of investment and time all destroyed."

In case you didn't know, citrus has to completely ripen on the tree.  They aren't like many other fruits that can be picked green and ripen from sitting.  You pick an orange or a grapefruit before it is fully ripe and the sugar developed, and you've got one nasty piece of fruit.  And while there are lots of things I miss about Florida, I especially love the smell of orange blossoms in the spring.  I've never smelled any flower that smells as good.

The death of all those trees was also something that made me skeptical of "global warming" from the start.  For the previous 5 or 6 decades, there had not even been a frost south of Lakeland, Florida.  Hence the name of a nearby grove community called, "Frostproof."  Ask any of the orange grove owners who were 2nd and third generation.  There had been successful orange groves almost as far north as Orlando.  But during the eighties, the freeze line kept moving south.  Wasn't it just a couple of years ago they had freezing temperatures in West Palm?  So, of course the narrative of the lie had to change from "global warming" to something that isn't so laughable on its face.  Now we call it "climate change."  Which is still laughable to an intelligent person, since climate constantly changes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please don't make me disable comments because you couldn't maintain decorum and civil discourse. You can disagree all you want to, just don't get nasty.