We've had 4 days of temperatures above freezing now, and although it has been great to tend to the bird feeder and shovel some snow while wearing a t-shirt, I'm starting to worry about some of my more tender perennials, like the lavender, and the experimental garlic bulbs I planted this fall. A freeze/thaw cycle will heave the plants up to the surface of the soil where their roots can freeze. I did put a very thick layer of mulch over the lavender and the clematis, so hopefully that will make the difference.
So much snow has melted now that I put on my Sorels and stomped around the yard for a little while yesterday. I opened up the covered raised bed, and to my surprise, the top inch of dirt was completely thawed! Anything below that was frozen solid, of course, but that top inch really made me realize that there is plenty of potential for that structure! I can see my seedlings sleeping comfortably in there over night until the threat of frost is over, and if the whole thing thaws faster than the other raised beds, the potential for a pumpkin or two is a reality!
I really don't know what I'm going to do in my garden this year. I have a feeling that with the geese coming in the spring, and all the planning and building that that will entail, the garden isn't going to have much for experimentation! The garden fence is moving to the birds, so they have some predator protection, and this year will be my first non-enclosed gardening experience. I'm looking forward to moving the garden beyond the confines of that wall, but hopefully the Moose and the Rabbits will be nice to me!
I think that the chickens are going to end up on hold for another year now. The geese are a great start, and probably easier to care for also. Once my husband sees how they do this winter then maybe he wont worry so much about adding a few chickens, but for now, city-boy (and over-planner) that he is, he is extremely worried about how this is going to work. I've given up trying to explain that we don't need a $1000 coop... hopefully he'll figure it out!
Just out of curiosity, does anyone reading this post raise birds in cold climates? I'd love to hear about your experiences!