We continue to think we are finished with winter but are reminded with each new Nor’wester that we are not. As I type this segment on March 4th, we are in the middle of another “wintry mix”. How many times have we heard that forecast this winter? More times than we have heard it in the collective 24 years preceding this winter. Will we hear it some more before we hit actual rather than merely anticipated spring? I’m placing no bets against that proposition because the unexpected has become the norm this year. This is Southeast Texas, folks - we have mild winters, right?
Our biggest concern is the peach orchard, which had not only blossomed but set their leaves as well. I suspect that as the sun rises today, we will find them sheathed in ice. Such a sight will not bode well for a peach harvest this year. And that does not bode well for our pigs, who usually enjoy stored peaches from May through September. We will suffer that same fate as we miss fresh peaches and cream and Honi’s peach jam. We can only hope that somehow we get a second bloom and that this freezing weather will be finished for the season. Our young pear trees are even less resistant to the cold and their early leaves are already burned off. We weren’t expecting fruit from them this year so nothing lost there so long as the young trees survive.
Secondarily, the preceding warm weather had put a jolt in our oat and rye pastures, promising more green foraging for our beeves and pigs. A layer of ice will put a re-set on that growth, but likely will not kill it altogether. We hope we hope.
Rain. We’re doing okay in terms of the pre-drought norm. January and February are slightly below that norm, not by much. Still, the ground remains spongy so we are fine for now. While we continue to see signs that we are finished with severe drought conditions, only time will tell.