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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Dec 9, 2011

It was as if we were in the last moments of a race last week as everyone around here was making a sprint to the finish. The weather forecast was for snow on Saturday, our first of the season.

Thursday and Friday were spent getting those things done outside that needed to be done because by Saturday, done or not, you were going to wait until next spring to get back at it. Race over, see you next spring.

Nature can be a cruel taskmaster.

Surprisingly, the landscaping company said Friday was a good day to seed the lawn for next spring and that is what they did.

The idea of seeding anything on Dec. 2 around here was a new thought to me, but I was assured by the landscaper that there would not be any problem. I reminded myself that wheat growers do this and wheat is a grass.

As the sun was setting, the last seeds had been planted in the replaced topsoil of this construction project and they were loading up their equipment.

I made a hasty trip to the local farm supply store for a space heater to keep my newly poured garage floor warm as it needed at least a week to properly set up and was only half way there.

Seeds can rest in cold soil, but concrete does not like cold weather. The garage floor and open doors were covered with insulating blankets supplied by the cement contractor. The space heater was hooked up to the LP tank and turned on.

I put a sending unit for an indoor-outdoor thermometer on the floor of the north wall where it would be coldest and I now have another readout to check on frequently.

So far, that low spot on the north wall has stayed above freezing and usually around 40 degrees. Hooray for the good guys.

Then it snowed. I would not have minded if the weather forecaster had been wrong this time and we would have kept our bare ground, but it is early December, so what do you expect?

As we made a trip out the driveway to do some errands, my wife observed that everything was now covered by snow. My reply was, “They don’t call it a blanket of snow for nothing.”

There are weather terms that puzzle me such as a hurricane that is “packing winds.” How do you pack winds?

I remember watching Westerns where the gunslinger was packing his guns. Does the hurricane carry its winds on the hurricane’s hip like a gunslinger?

When did a hurricane get a hip?

However, back to the blanket of snow. A blanket is a great term for snow. Everything has been tucked under a blanket to wait until the warming sun of spring arrives.

I have a blanket insulating and protecting my garage floor and a blanket covers the ground for miles and miles.

About two years ago, the snow was so deep that it insulated the ground enough that the ground thawed from the warmth below. It meant an early spring with very little runoff as the snow melted straight down.

Another important blanket are the ones that my wife and I use to cover ourselves in front of the television every evening, plus the additional one we use at night, assuring we are warm enough for a good night’s sleep.

Blanket season has arrived whether you are next spring’s seeds, a concrete floor slowly setting up, or trying to take the chill off a room to make it more comfortable.

Let us know when it is safe to come out.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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