I had mentioned at the close of last year that it felt like the Twenty Teens was going to be the last normal decade that we humans, in this set of living arrangements we call civilization, would have. Whodah thunk that all the crap would be crammed into the very next year!
In addition to all of the bat bug issues, the greatest depression ever experienced, and a populace that seems hell bent on experiencing the horrors that accompany shooting fellow citizens, we here in Colorado and huge swathes of the west are on fire. My favorite places in the world up north of us are burning. East of our property in Montana burned 8000 acres and none of it looks to be abating any time soon. So we are enduring smokey air, burning eyes, heavy breathing and the most amazing skies ever. Even during straight up noon the skies are hazy and the air glows yellow and orange. Sunrises and sunsets are blood red and we still keep breaking heat records. Over 90% of Colorado is in a moderate to severe drought. Fort Collins, a town north of us about 90 minutes has begun water restrictions. How much more adventure can people take? I guess we are set to find out.
So then the big surprise happened. Because of a broken Jet Stream due to irreversible and abrupt climate change, we experienced a temperature swing that tied an old record. We also broke the record for the number of consecutive days above 90 degrees (76). Then, because of this vortex coming down from the Arctic, we experienced over a 60 degree temperature swing between September 8th and 9th. During the day it was in the high nineties. That night it plunged to 37. The next day it snowed 4 inches with the mountains getting over a foot and half. Fortunately, because it had been so hot, the snow melted right off, however, it was a this year’s garden killer.
The next couple of days saw highs in the 40’s. Knowing this was coming set us into a harvesting frenzy. We picked and brought in anything and everything we could from the garden. The greenhouse fared pretty well and a great deal of it was already done for the season, but BEANS, tons and tons of BEANS!! Peppers! Eggplant! Celery! Cabbages! Tomatoes! Cucumbers! Carrots! Bushels and bushels of things. The kitchen was stacked with buckets. We looked at it and realized just what a processing job was ahead of us. We canned close to 100 quarts of green beans, 26 pints of carrots, made over 40 lbs. of Sauerkraut, put cucumbers in the pickling crocks, canned Tomato Salsa, pickled Jalapeños, Green Tomato Salsa, Pasta Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Canned Carrots and dehydrated mountains of various peppers and eggplant. It’s a good thing that we have been canning for years. We have lots of canning supplies. Because of the surge in gardening this year because of the stay at home orders, canning supplies are pretty scarce. Had we been in that boat, we would have had lots of wasted produce.
Another homestead staple that has been in short supply are baby chicks from the hatcheries. We hatch our own Turkeys, Layer Hens and Stewing Chickens, but because the fast growing meat chickens are a cross, they can’t be bred. Usually we can get them in a month. We got skunked this year and after placing an order for 40 from a second choice breeder, we finally got them the first week of September. Since building our barn, we have been able to brood them out to being fully feathered out there under heat lamps. It was a relief because we had been doing it in our basement which made things stinky and dusty. But, of course, with the onset of this storm, we didn’t take the chance of having 40 chicken nugget popsicles so back into the basement they came. As of today though, they are outside doing fine. After this stooooopid 2 days of winter in the first 10 days of SEPTEMBER (Save me the platitudes about “Ah well that’s Colorado” – no it isn’t. The last time this happened was 20 years ago.). it is back up to 90 and looks to stay that way until October. We done screwed up our environment.
So the delay in putting up more posts here was because we had been running the canners non-stop for a week after the scramble to get it all in, disconnecting watering systems, taking down shade covers and making sure the critters were all hunkered in. Everything looks good again, in fact a lot of the garden survived. Our big loss looks to be the sweet potatoes. They were in one of our new big beds, and they just can’t handle cold. We covered our Habanero peppers as the are the last to ripen of all the peppers. They look like they might have survived….. time will tell. 2020, the year they let the freaks out to run the show. I’m afraid 2021 will be the deeper, darker, sequel. So if you are still not prepping up for potential food supply disruptions, dahell is wrong with you? Quit reading this and go get stuff. This doesn’t look to be getting any better any time soon…. if ever.