Cold Mornings

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sheep graze through the frost

Leafhopper Farm has become a frosty wonderland as winter begins to set in. Our livestock come in during the nights now for comfort, and the gardens are covered with mulch or cloche. November is usually our coldest month, and the weather has been generous, offering more sun than expected, but at what cost?

It’s an El Nino year- meaning less rain and warmer temperatures- great for spring or fall, but not the winter of a temperate rain-forest. If we are in for a dry winter, it will make next summer all the more hazardous to fire. Let’s hope the winter rains are still on there way for The Pacific Northwest.

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cold frames and cloche are set up

Cold temperatures also usher in new species of migrating birds to our region. I’ve been hearing some unfamiliar calls first thing in the morning, and look forward to identifying our winter visitors. Other animals like elk are also returning to the lowlands to avoid the harsher snow up in the mountains. Over the next few months, Washington will get darker and darker, and our seemingly endless growing season will slow to almost standstill; almost.

We’ll be hustling to transplant young trees and shrubs, pruning fruit trees back, and mulching with as much cardboard as we can to get ahead of Spring weeds. Our large cistern will be going into place before the end of the month, and fully installed to catch rain water through the wettest time of our year. Let’s hope the weather does offer at least enough rain to get that tank full before the start of what is now becoming our regular summer drought season.

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neighbor Sam helps move the 20,000 tank into place

Whatever the weather is, it’s sure to be ever more dramatic than past records show, which means planning for these extremes by building a system of agriculture which supports resiliency of the environment. This includes diversity of species which can flex with the changing weather patterns, and as much water retention as we can get for irrigation. Our growing spaces are developed with deep beds of organic material to absorb moisture and store it away deep in the soil for when plants need it. Leafhopper Farm is taking the time to develop a long lasting landscape of rejuvenation and abundance, hand in hand with mother nature as she responds to our man made madness.

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