Winter is not Jim's favorite season so this is not a statement that you would ever catch him saying BUT that is what you could say today is. The sun is shining, the air is calm, the snow is sparkling like diamonds and the temperature isn't bone chilling, just fresh. I love it!
For Jim, it is the perfect day because the sun is shining, there is no wind and the ground is frozen. He can finally get the straw onto the berries. This has been one weird winter. The warmth and sunshine around Christmas made it feel like we were in a different country. Then the roller coaster ride of temperatures came in January. The water was still flowing from our tile drainage in the fields last week. The land was far from ready to drive over it with the tractor.
Layering on the straw to protect the berries is a job that needs just the right timing. Too soon - the berries aren't dormant and will be smothered. Too late and the freeze/thaw of winter can cause winter kill. The straw is necessary to protect the berry plants from temperature fluctuations - acting like a winter blanket plus as a mid row cover during picking season to stop the summer rains from splashing soil up onto the berries. It also acts as a weed suppressant.
We've got a nice layer of snow under the straw today which will slowly melt in the spring providing extra moisture to give the plants a good start in the spring.
Ahh the spring - can't you just envision the green returning.