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Dec 24, 2008

Winter Update

Hi all,

With all the strange and very harsh weather we’ve been having, I thought I’d better post some pictures!

They are saying this is one of the worst storms since 1968 (of course, the year I was born). We’ve definitely had a lot more snow than we had in ‘04, but ‘04 I think had more ice. They have declared a state of emergency for Multnomah County and Gresham. I certainly understand why. We’re all stuck! Power is out all over. And yes, of course I live in Multnomah County!

It all started out so quiet and peaceful, with a light feathering of snow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My bench has a beautiful light covering early on Dec. 14.  Later that day the cold frame has 3-4” on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Corn Salad in the cold frame was okay on the 20th. Good thing snow is a great insulator!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Then the freezing rain and more snow came.

The berries on the Glorybower were beautiful when frozen. Money Plant seed pods took on a golden sparkle in this shot. The Douglas Fir was so frozen- poor thing.

PZ3 demo #2Glorybower: I love the blue berries in winter! Photo by Tessa Neill










By the 22nd, we had so much snow- I couldn’t believe it!!! At least 2.5 feet in the very back of my yard. That was in the morning.

This photo was taken at about 6am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Opps! Where did the cold frame go?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow! My bench is covered!- the snow wasn’t stopping any time soon either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The snow came up to just under my knees- I couldn’t believe it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, the question is, has anything survived in the cold frame and greenhouse?

The Cold Frame

As stated above, snow is a great insulator, thankfully. I can’t get my cold frame open, but I did water after the first hit of bad weather, so the lettuce, corn salad, and spinach should be okay- we’ll see :). I also had to remove the 1” (or more) layer of ice off it (leaving most of the snow), just before we were hit with more snow, so I hope that the plastic will hold up. All the plastic was replaced this year; 4mil,- we’ll see what happens. Tomorrow I have to go and take some snow off.

The Greenhouse

The greenhouse has had snow and ice on it. Early on, when we first heard bad weather was coming, I put the heater out there right under the plants. Everything is fine in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This isn’t everything, but all of these, at left ,are cool weather plants, so they should be fine…unless we lose power! Then I’ll have to bring them in.

  • Lettuce ‘Red Star’
  • Lettuce ‘Focea’
  • Pansy ‘Winter Pansy’
  • Pansy ‘Blue’
  • Bulbs- pink Grape Hyacinth and burgundy Hyacinth
  • Dwarf Snapdragon
  • Argeratum

The greenhouse temp has gotten as low as 34 degrees, and there is ice clinging to the outside.


How is Peetree? Well, we have been keeping his feeder , or ‘Peetree dish’ as we call it ;), as defrosted as we can. The light is helping- and we put insulation stripping around the base and on the bottom. There is a little area in the center of the feeder that kept filling up with snow or freezing rain and then iced over solid- we put cut up strips of cloth in there and it stopped freezing, except at night or if we have the wind, and then we’d just bring it in.

On the 21st I didn’t see him until about 11am- I thought for sure he had froze to death. Yesterday, I saw him perched on a branch and he got stuck to the twig he was on, one foot frozen to it- scared me half to death! He finally got off and after that he moved more frequently from branch to branch.

This was taken on the day it was really cold and we had freezing rain. I really wish I had a better camera, so I could take pictures from farther away…like from inside!

Everybody is very hungry…except this Song Sparrow! I think he needs to cut back a little. They all need to eat more to stay warm though, so we make sure we keep up with the food this time of year.


We’ve made it a habit to watch the news and weather channel every hour or so, and it’s driving me crazy that the news reporters keep using the term ‘Hunker down’! Just where did this saying come from, anyway- and does anyone know what it really means. I know it’s one of those things that we say that we don’t really know what it means (Okay, I’m sure some body does- somewhere) but everyone nods their heads, and understands. They say it over and over again…really annoying! Like some weird disease the term has spread to all the news channels. All kidding aside, however, they have predicted accurately throughout this whole ordeal. They are saying tonight that snow, more snow, and then freezing rain are expected again for Christmas. We managed to dig ourselves out today and make a run to the store for a few things and pick up some stuff for my sister. The roads were awful!

So, what to do now? ‘Hunker down’ (you want me to do what?) and make some 15 bean soup and fresh bread (No, silly, not the old fashioned way, you’re funny!…try bread machine:) Of course, I’m not sure that is a good idea…when we can’t open the windows.


I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Happy Gardening!



  • Aerie-el

    Great photos! It's interesting to see how much snow you got in Oregon. I live in rural King County, WA and it is STILL snowing. Unbelievable. Hope Peetree and plants do okay thru this cold spell.
    Making stew/soup and baking bread sounds like a good idea...thanks!
    Take care and happy holidays,

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Thanks, for stopping by. Yes, it is unbelievable! I do see some things melting today, but the wind has kicked up- freezing rain is on the way. I haven't been able to check on things in the cold frame- I hope things are okay in there too! How much snow do you have on the ground?

  • Aerie-el

    I think at one point we had close to 2 feet on the ground. I heard that there hasn't been this much snow here since the 1800s! But it's all melting now, the wind's picked up, and there's snow in our future again soon. Blah!

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Wow! 2 feet! Our snow is all gone too- I wish it would snow again, minus the freezing rain. I love the snow as long as it's not too much.

  • inadvertentfarmer

    LOL...yet another blogger from the PNW digging out from under all this white stuff! I must say I could not be happier about all the snow! Your picture are great. I envy your green house...having one is one my 'dream list' of gardening improvements I would like to make! I've enjoyed your blog and thanks for stopping by mine to see my monster, lol! Now that the snow is gone enjoy the usual rain Kim

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Thanks for stopping by Kim! Yeah, I love the snow. I have some pics of me making a snow chick- no, my kids didn't help...teenagers! My mom says I have a look on my face just like when I was little- I've always loved the snow...can't stand the rain and overcast sky! Need to move to Central Oregon!

  • Sue

    I hope by now you are out from under your hunkering and enjoying your salad greens. ;o) Those are quite the photos!

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Hi Sue,

    Yeah, the snow melted too fast, if you ask me! I loved it while it lasted though- I hope for more, minus the ice storms! I hope you are having a great New Year so far- Thanks, for stopping by.

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