This may seem obvious in hindsight but, as it happens, the coldest February in recent memory was not a charming time to move to a house that was built 168 years before the start of the Civil War. There was a blizzard on the day that we packed and drove the truck full of everything we own to our new home, and then blizzards every day after that for weeks. Literally one hour after we finished unpacking the truck, a cast iron radiator exploded and flooded an entire room of the house with steaming black water. Later that week our entire heating system predictably froze as the temperatures flirted with fifteen below, and we had to pay a plumber great sums of money to come rescue us from certain death. The snow came off the roof and piled high, blocking some of the windows. Even once the heating system was back up and running and our woodstove was installed, we struggled to keep the oldest part of the house (our bedrooms) above 40 degrees. Then, as we desperately scrambled to stay warm, our contractor had an epic meltdown and we were left with half a bathroom, no kitchen, and no contractor. It’s been a long six weeks.
But as the weather has slowly started to turn around (ever so painfully slowly), as the days have slowly started to lengthen, and as we’ve slowly made progress on rebuilding our kitchen and bathroom, things are starting to look up. We go back to the photos of the house before we started the renovation and realize that we have made real progress. A few patches of snowdrops have bloomed around the house, there is a family of ducks living on the recently-iceless pond, and the skunk cabbage are sprouting their alien heads everywhere in the bog across the street. Last night, for the first time this season and seemingly all at once, the peepers were out in full force – music to our cold winter ears. I think we can now safely say that we survived until spring, and by next winter we’ll be ready.
Though spring is really dragging her feet, we’re also already in the midst of the familiar full scale spring ramp-up in outdoor activity. All of a sudden the to-do list is a mile long, and is especially daunting because we’re establishing much of our infrastructure from scratch this season on our new land. Now that the ground is starting to thaw, we have to rebuild our high tunnels, plan for our new irrigation system, and rebuild our cooler. The heated greenhouse, though, is already overflowing with trays – thousands of baby seedlings are thousands of little promises about what’s to come, and we whisper gentle and encouraging words to them daily.
Watching the snow melt during this unseasonably late winter has been a great way for us to observe our new microclimate in East Haddam. We still have patches of dry crusty hard-packed snow around the fields, and we’ve estimated that we’re going to be at least two weeks behind the season we were accustomed to in Woodbridge. We’re turning over the fields in the next two weeks so that we can start the long process of making new beds from scratch, and are excited to finally see what we’ve got under there. Thank goodness we already have the toasty high tunnel packed with spring greens and carrots and hakurei turnips for our early markets. Counting the days!
AND we have one other very exciting ACRE announcement! Last weekend, after months of grueling training throughout the entire brutal winter, our very own Rachel ran her first marathon in celebration of her 30th birthday. We are very proud of her totally baller time (3:54:58!) and of the fact that she was the 17th woman to finish the race. What an amazing way to kick off the season!