what plants hate frost
Sunday, October 18 2015
As predicted, we had the first frost of the year some time during the night, and it was hard enough to put a 1/16 inch layer of ice on containers of standing water. The pepper I'd covered with a padded tarp survived the night without injury, but the tomato got nipped pretty badly around the edges. Some sort of tropical bromeliad that I'd forgotten about didn't appear to have suffered at all. Indeed, it was mostly just the exposed tomatoes which seemed to suffer, though among the weeds there were wilting Pokeberry and Asiatic Dayflower leaves, and the leaves on the Trees of Heaven (aka "Ghetto Palm") also appeared to be damaged. I should say that this counts as an early first frost; normally they occur a little later (though in 2012 it came on October 13th).
I started the dogs' morning walk by heading southward on the newly-resurfaced Farm Road. But they were distracted by something in the woods within a couple hundred feet of our house. I couldn't tell what it was, but later when Eleanor again became distracted by something in the woods near the Farm Road's southern end, I saw toilet paper and immediately figured out what was exciting them. Evidently the guys on the road resurfacing crew hadn't brought a Johnny-on-the-Spot and so had been forced to revert to the bathroom habits of our ursine cousins. This isn't a common problem in these forests, where humans seldom venture, but it was a recurring challenge when walking Sally in Prospect Park fourteen long years ago.
I hadn't brought my firewood salvaging gear, but I still managed to carry home a 15.4 pound stick of wood from somewhere along the Stick Trail. Later I set out with my equipment and cut up a smallish downed skeletal oak on the forest floor near the Stick Trail about 100 feet south of the Chamomile Crossing. Between that an the 15.4 pound piece, I managed to gather 117.45 pounds. As I worked, a drizzle of sleet began to fall, with little white balls of ice bouncing around.
I needed firewood for the indoors, so I went out on a second salvaging mission, this time bringing only the backpack. I gathered 105.75 pounds this time, but when I went to split it, a big 24.1 pound piece proved to contain a colony of large black hibernating ants, all of them torpid from the cold. I hate disturbing them like this, but it's one of the risks of getting firewood the way I do. Since that piece had to stay outside, the weight tally going to the woodshed today came to 156.95 pounds, while the weight going inside came to 81.65 pounds.
Gretchen returned from North Carolina at around 11pm tonight. She'd had a mediocre time, though she'd met one of our friends from back when we all lived in a co-op at Oberlin together (he's now a struggling jazz musician with two kids he'd had with a woman with psychological problems). The highlight of our post-trip conversation was a crazy story she told me about our friend Maresa, the one who bakes vegan cookies and cupcakes for a living. It seems Maresa had arranged with another of our friends to temporarily store these cookies (in this case, macarons) in her industrial kitchen until they could be taken to the City for sale at a weekly vegan event. But evidently this other friend (the one with the industrial kitchen) has terrible impulse control, because at some point in the week she decided to eat some of the macarons. And she didn't just take a few off the top. She (and, presumably friends and colleagues) ate over 100 of them, raiding all the plastic containers and pawing through the ones they didn't eat, rendering the entire batch of 300 cookies (worth $700) unsaleable. I was amazed; I knew that this particular friend has trouble with the neural circuits that suppress bad ideas and insane vocalizations, but, if this story is correct, she couldn't even pass the sort of marshmallow test that three-year-olds not headed for a life of adderall (if not crime) can.
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