December 12,  2010

Winter is upon us and there have already been several nights when the temperature dropped to near freezing. Fortunately, after a year of organizing things, we are better prepared for the cold this winter. Petra's winter growing area is all set up and feeling quite snug (from a plant's point of view, at least).

The view above is taken from the north end of the shade structure level and the one below from near the south end.

Petra "multi-tasks" in front of her shade level potting bench.

The new kindergarten was finished just in time to deal with the winter weather. The doors are in, all of the roll-ups installed and the upper vents covered. Even without heaters, it stays 3 or 4 degrees warmer in here than outside! We may install some thermostatically-controlled electric heaters- just in case.

Inside, the balance of this year's crop of summer-growing seedlings has been moved in, taking up about 2/3 of the total bench space. Mein Gott!

Outside on the east side of the kindergarten, we are in the process of setting up a new shaded corridor for winter growing seedlings. Petra has already put down most of her winter seed and, so far, it looks like another bumper crop! These babies won't mind the cold, but some of them are averse to too much water (i.e., rain), so we've covered the north 20' with Lexan. Eventually the whole corridor will be shrouded in shade cloth. Planned for that blank space along the right side is another 40' of ground beds.

On another front, we finally found our house trailer and got it moved down to Rainbow. We've set the 24'-er up temporarily across from the office and run electricity out to it, so it can be used as a second bedroom. The propane heat works great and it's real comfy inside.

The trailer is a fairly old model (1984), but all of the systems- propane heat, stove, full-size refrigerator, water heater, roll-down awning and air conditioner- are of good quality and in fine working order. And it has a reasonably roomy shower! The two doors were also an attractive feature, giving us two separable bedrooms.

Of course, the trailer will eventually find its home in that coppice of oak trees next door at the annex. We are already working on installing the services to that area. On the right, the water line is in and working. Back against the fence, Brian and Miguel dig the trench for the septic line. After that, we'll work on getting electricity up there. We expect to be ready to move the trailer over sometime next month.

Meanwhile, life goes on on our "open-air living room!"

All of the plants on the patio slope are thriving . The protea ground cover, however, is thriving a bit too much!