Here in the south, we have relatively mild winters. Occasionally we get a little bit of snow, more times we have freezing rain, but rarely do we get below 0 temperatures with 8″+ of snow. It is because of this that we had no way to truly prepare in the ways we needed to in the amount of time we had. So, we lost everything.
Yesterday, we woke up to our surroundings looking something like a winter snow globe. At the time, we had roughly 6 inches of powdery snow on the ground and temperatures hovering around 16 degrees F.
We had prepared our chickens, bees, and greenhouse as best we could. We provided wind breaks for all open spaces and cracks, we added supplemental heat to prevent frostbite on our chickens, and we had 2 space heaters running in the greenhouse.
The good news is, our chickens made it through the night where the temperature dropped to -1 degrees F. One of our roosters had a very slight, mild touch of frost bite on the very bottom of his wattle but everything else seems to be fine. Our bees are to be determined as we can NOT open the lids to check their status. We are just praying they made it. As for the greenhouse…that’s a different story.
If you’ve read my previous blog posts or follow me on instagram, you know my greenhouse was filled with abundance. We had (past tense, which makes me cry as I type this) lemon trees, a lime tree, seedlings of brassicas galore, herbs, greens, and a volunteer tomato plant. After checking the temperature yesterday morning in the greenhouse, I made the executive decision to move our pepper seedlings inside, leaving my husband in the greenhouse.
We aren’t really sure what happened or how he had such a lapse in judgement, but somehow he closed the door but not the latch. We went about our day assuming everything was locked down and holding tight only to find the door w i d e open a mere 3-4 hours later.
I screamed, ran inside to grab my husband, and we ran as fast as we could to the structure.
It was 20 degrees F inside and I immediately knew everything inside was a gone. While some things I had growing could tolerate the cold, they could not tolerate a hard freeze for multiple hours. I immediately started sobbing because the lemon tree that once held 30+ lemons now holds 2. Maybe. All of my herbs are wilted and brown. All of my seedlings are dead except the cabbage and broccoli which sets us weeks behind in planting and harvesting our first rounds of lettuce, kale, mustard greens, and herbs. Not to mention, the 300 onions we planted a few weeks before are now 8″ under snow. Also dead.
It is hard to even type this post because the greenery layed out before me upon each trip to the greenhouse was about the only thing getting me through the winter gloomies. Especially in a rare polar blizzard here in central Arkansas.
After throwing an absolute fit, I knew I had to face the music. I thought to myself, “I am experiencing on a small scale what some farmers experience 10 fold.” And I had to really push my mindset to shift from completely devastated to “we must start again.”
Because I can’t do this lifestyle with an easily defeated mentality nor could I achieve half of the goals I have this year if I give up so early in the year.
If at this point you are wondering if I was absolutely mad at my husband, the answer was initially yes. I wanted to point fingers, place blame, and scream because this was my hope having turned dead right before my eyes. That would have been the easy response. However, he planted those seeds of hope with me. He bought the greenhouse as a birthday present for all of that to even be possible. I could also tell it was an honest mistake because if there is one thing that man protects for me it is my dream of growing copious amounts of our own food. I could have ruined our day being totally mad at him, but instead I extended grace. The truth is, I could have just as easily brought my contents and seedlings inside in preparation of what was to come. Honestly, this might have been the better option looking back because the exact same thing would have happened with a power outage. The same power outage wreaking havoc on majority of the ill-prepared south right now.
So, I chose grace. Because in this marriage, we are learning together. If everything went 100% perfect on this journey, what would even be the point of me sharing in this space and allowing this community to grow with us? Absolutely nothing. So today, we start again. All things are to become new. That is always the hope.