The Weather Service has issued a Severe Weather Alert for Ventura County. We are getting rain, but notably unstable cold air moving down from Canada behind the rain. It is supposed to bring the coldest lows in recent memory, with a chance of snow to 1000 feet (http://weather.yahoo.com/storm/USCA1144.html).
Time to scramble. I bagged my avocado and citrus and mulched the bejeebus out of the garden. It could get into the 20’s, and that means heavy frost damage. But it also means a learning opportunity. I can compare how my natives handle the cold snap vs. the ornamentals. We’ll see if my mulch blanket was enough defense to save my winter crops. The then there are the fruit trees. My peach and plum are putting out a few tenative blossoms, hopefully if those buds get zapped there will be enough left to follow for them to recover and set fruit for the summer. I think my apple is in for a big surprise, though. It is all leafed out, we we’ll see how that turkey deals with this one. I never liked that tree anyway. All the new trees in the front yard have wisely stayed dormant.
I have also gained a few insights… namely that I am doing this on such a small scale that I can actually take evasive action. That part is nice, but my heart goes out to those who have to worry about acres and acres of investments. Unpredictable weather setbacks like this must cost a lot of time and capital. Farming is risky. I was feeling pretty cocky about getting my seeds started in mid-January, and now I feel like I’m being taught a lesson about counting your chickens before they hatch. My goal is to rely on as much of my own food production as possible, but what happens if I get wiped out by wacky weather? That’s another 6 hungry weeks to catch back up if I have to start from seed again. That equates to famine. It would seem life in the Agricultural Age is not with out its nail-biting.
For now we have fire wood stacked by the door, the chickens protected, the garden mulched, and food in storage. But I definitely feel like my happy little bubble has been popped. Getting self sufficient takes a lot of time and work, and it is something that builds on itself. I realize that it will take several seasons of building and working to not only stay current, but prepare for the inevitable disasters that will come our way. I am just grateful that I am realizing this while there is time and resources to do something about it.
This is a pic of my mulched garden.