Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jack Frost Goes to the Desert

After months of sweltering, triple digit heat, it is finally tolerable here in the desert. The temps have been in the high 60's to low 70's and the air conditioner hasn't kicked on in almost three weeks. In fact, the cold front that pushed in on Sunday has made it truly fall like, with the mercury staying below 65 during the day and dropping down into the low 40's at night. But tonight, all week in fact, Mr. Weatherman is calling for the temperatures to fall even lower, into the lower 30's and *gasp* maybe even the upper 20's.

I am thrilled about this. I have been sweaty for so long, this cold snap is a godsend. I miss the snow terribly and often have a hard time getting into that holiday spirit when I could go swimming outside. I gleefully put on a sweater this morning and dressed my kids in sleeves and pants. This kind of weather fuels me, like an energy drink for my sun weary soul. Since the temperatures have dropped, my productivity has doubled. I've been baking, sewing, cleaning like crazy. When I learned that there might actually be frost on the windows tomorrow morning I nearly jumped for joy!

That is, until, my husband totally stole my thunder. As I chattered away about the happy possibility of frost, my husband said two words that sucked the joy right out of my chest: The Garden. Crap. The garden. This is our first year with a "winter garden." As desert valley dwellers, the weather is (usually) nice enough to garden year round. There are a few months in the summer where it is too ghastly hot for anything to grow, but the rest of the year is peachy keen for growing food. We planted the usual cool season crops: broccoli, spinach, turnips....stuff like that. But we also planted beans, radishes, peppers and tomatoes which prefer NOT to freeze. And most years, frost is never a concern. But it appears this year might be different.

We already have large amounts of gorgeous fruit on our tomato plants. We lost a large part of our summer tomato harvest to crickets and I'll be damned if I lose this crop to frost. It's like the world is totally against me having homegrown tomatoes. I have to protect my plants!! My first thought was that scene from the movie A Walk in the Clouds with Keanu Reeves where they are walking up and down the rows of grapes with these big, angel like wings strapped to their arms, fanning the fire warmed air on the plants to keep them from freezing. Well, I don't have any wings, or any materials with which to build a fire. And as romantic as the movie was, standing outside in the cold flapping my arms all evening doesn't really sound that enticing.

Our solution? Sheets.  Not as glamorous but it should work, all the same.I don't have very many sheets, so I was a little reluctant to throw the few I do have outside in the dirt. If my son wakes from his nap in time, we may jet to Goodwill and purchase a few "outside" sheets. Oh well. Sheets can be washed and tomato plants can't be saved once they've frozen.

One of our beds, tucked in for the night.

Cross your fingers!!

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