Happy 2014! We have had some real winter here in Northwestern Wisconsin. We got some cold weather in November and early December, then snow. we were happy to see the snow before more cold arrived.
Snow acts as a protective blanket covering soil, cover crops, perennials, and all the microbial life in the soil. Down below frost the soil temperature can be constant around 50 degrees. a few years back with an early deep snow cover the frost came out of the soil and the snow gradually melted down at soil level. Moisture was high and with no frost we could get into the field early that spring.
This year in December we kept getting snow. At one point we got snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and more snow. Although it was inconvenient for driving a vehicle, farmers were pretty happy to see moisture after a very dry fall. And the snow came ahead of a long spell of mostly cold weather.
This year may not have the record cold temperatures or record snow fall, but our usual weather pattern of Alberta clippers that move rapidly from Canada through our area with a small amount of snow and cold have been replaced with temperatures about twenty degrees colder than usual and stalled systems.
We have had many nights well below zero Fahrenheit, and the lack of sunshine has meant less solar gain inside our home and work space. We have burned almost as much wood by the end of December as we do all season some years.
We put up our wood from our own land and like to put up more than we think we will need. Most years I go through about six ricks of wood for the cook stove.
This year I have gone through three partial ricks...
and over one full rick.
Sean helped Ken put up some wood last fall - insurance.
It will be interesting to see what weather we get the rest of the season!