Monday, February 9, 2009

Punxsutawney Philoney

Bleatings from EnviRambo.

I know Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, but it is sure starting to look like Spring. There is nothing like a good thaw to lift your spirits. It has been in the high 30s, nearly 40, all weekend. In Wisconsin that is damn near Summer! It is funny how we adjust and how our perception changes according to our environment. Today it felt so nice out that I went without a coat - it was only 34 degrees. Two months ago when it was 34 degrees I was freezing! Enduring a month of temperatures 30 below zero sure changes your perspective. I saw one brave soul on a motorcycle today, I also saw several snowmobiles. If it hits 50 we Northerners will be streaking in the streets!

Snow melting in my front lawn.

The areas I have dutifully cleared all winter are melting quickly. I can actually see grass! A lake is starting to develop in my driveway. The moles are not wasting any time turning my yard into a volcanic village. And the squirrels are starting to get, well, squirrelly.

Mole hill and freshly unearthed walnut.

There has been some rejuvenation inside as well. After severely neglecting my plants for several months, the warm sunshine has revived a few. Two Gerbera daisies are in bloom - a welcome splash of color among a sea of gray and white. Several varieties of mint have sprung up. My rosemary and oregano are making a comeback. And the chives I thought were dead are now tall and green.

All this activity has me itching to grown something - anything. I have made the mistake before of starting seeds indoors way too early. One year I had watermelon vines two foot long growing in the house and no garden to put them in. It is hard to hold back and be patient.

Throughout this premature thaw I have observed the snow on our flats roofs completely disappearing and it got me thinking. Could I grow cold weather crops early in the season on my roof? Hmm.... I just finished "The All New Square Foot Garden" book. According to the book I only need a 4' x 4' area with soil six inches deep to grow a bounty of food. My roof is definitely wide enough to accommodate that. I have relatively easy access out my bedroom windows - they are 4 feet tall. There is a bathroom upstairs for water. The roof is on the South side of the house. And, it is covered in black rubber.

But, will it support the weight of the soil? I know there are green roofs out there. The ones I have heard about always seem to be on a larger structure, skyscraper, high-rise apartment. Usually something constructed from concrete and steel. My house is 108 year old wood. Have any of you attempted growing a garden on your roof? It seems like such a wasted space just calling out for food. I would like to see the rabbits try to eat my peas up there!

With my garden still encased in an icy tomb, I am looking for alternatives to produce my own food. Every day that I read the paper, watch the news, or catch a headline online about salmonella, mercury, BPA, pesticides and who knows what else, gives me great concern and reinforces that I need to take control over my family's well being. I cannot wait for the government to figure it out. I have the power to fulfill my family's needs - safely, simply, sustainably.

Backyard glacier receding.

Only a foot and a half of snow to go!

2/8/09 Backyard snow measurement.


EcoBurban said...

I'm with you! It was 38 yesterday so we went to the park, took a walk and played ice hockey on the lake in long sleeved T-shirts. It's true that Northerners are a hearty bunch!! You would have thought it was summer yesterday, my kids were wearing short sleeves!

We've got about a foot left of snow, which should melt this week (maybe?!?!) and I see some green peeking through, so it does make me wonder what I could be growing...

However, you and I both know that winter is not gone yet. Seriously, we still get snow in May. I've been to many a little league game with an inch of snow on the ground!!

Lisa said...

The warm weather out west has me daydreaming about gardening too. We're going sans coats in the "middle" of winter, wondering what is going to happen next. I just hope Mother Nature hurrys up and makes up her mind. Either dump a few feet of snow on us so that we can go sledding or dry out my grass so that we can start readying the yard for summer. We're in limbo.... we could get a snow in May too!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Not to rub it in, but down here in North Carolina, it hit 70 this weekend. At the farmer's market on Saturday, there was broccoli and cauliflower. Hallelujah! I haven't had broccoli or cauliflower in months and have been getting very tired of cabbage and potatoes.

Good luck on your green roof. If you really do decide to go that route, you have to post more details. I'm very interested.

Joyce said...

Our snow may be gone, but the ground is still rock hard! I'm sure we're just getting a little teaser for spring, but I had to get out there without a coat, too, and there were school kids walking to school in capris this morning, which cracked me up.
We have a roof like that, and for what it's worth, I don't think Id trust it with that much soil. It does seem like you could do some container planting up there, if you located the containers around the edges where there is more support. It's an intriguing idea.

Rachel said...

Nerd alert! I have to admit that my husband and I looked up Groundhog Day on Wikipedia. Dear Puxs...Phil is only correctly 37% of the time! So, in theory, when he sees his shadow, SPRING is mostly likely around the corner! (lots of other funny facts about this obsurd holiday are on the wiki. entry, too. Embrace your inner geek and check it out!)


JessTrev said...

Oh, we had the best spring-y weekend too! Only it was in the 50s! Down to the community garden (weeded, and I can tell you I saw ice down less than an inch); walking in the woods; rollerskating at the playground. It was pretty blissful. Actually, it's been funny - all of us in our neighborhood have been doing the Tshirt thing too and then freezing our behinds off at the playground. I caught myself slathering myself with sunscreen like I was in the Bahamas the other day -- all bz it was in the high 40s! Thanks for the warning to hold off with my seedlings too. I am chafing at the bit.

Green Bean said...

I won't even tell you what the weather has been like here in California, then! It's not all good. We're headed into a pretty serious drought.

That said, you are so right about how the same temperature feels warmer toward the end of winter than it did at the beginning. I remember last year freezing in my home in November. By February, the same temperature was downright balmy.

greeen sheeep said...

Today's forecast is going to hit 50! I will try to keep my clothes on and refrain from streaking in the streets. That foot and a half of snow to go has reduced down to 3 inches! It has also gotten extremely windy! Which is good for drying out the lake in my driveway. But, we must be getting 50mph gusts out there. A couple of times last night I woke up and looked out the window thinking a tornado was rumbling down the street! Looks, sounds, and feels a lot more like March than February.

Condo Blues said...

I hear you on all accounts! Our snow melted (our poor dog has nothing to snowplow through!), it's going to be almost 60 degrees today, and we're entering the season of Mud. I have to itch to start planning my garden too but then I remember last March's surprise snowstorm and thing, "maybe I should just try an indoor project instead."

PS:At 60 degrees, I'm keeping my clothes on but I won't gaurenteeing that I'll put on my bathing suit and sunbathe in the backyard!

Kellie said...

I would say that roof was MADE for gardening! If it can hold up a foot of snow, it can hold up a garden. Can't wait to see the pictures!!!


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