A garden may SEEM to sleep during the winter, but something is always happening out there. Even if a blanket of snow has covered it. Growing slows down tremendously, but life does remain as it quietly observes shorter days and longer nights.
A warm fire seems much more inviting than trudging around in the snow with below freezing temps, but if one will bundle up and brave the elements, it's actually quite invigorating. And if you live someplace where daylight hours are exceptionally short, you need every bit of Vitamin D from the sun you can possible absorb!
Believe me... I know. With the sun only beginning to rise over the eastern mountain at Sweetwater Farm around 8:45 in the morning in the deepest part of winter, and then setting behind the western mountain around 2:45, by February I've been known to have a substantial case of cabin fever if I don't get outside enough.
But back to the garden... doing daily inspection is a REALLY wise habit to develop. I confess, I don't do it every day, but I try to get out there often because stuff happens.
Wind whips through and pulls off covers that I thought were secure or snow causes a collapse...
Wild animals attempt to break and enter...
The snow is great for discovering who your unwanted visitors might be! Certainly a good reason to keep a lock on coop doors.
My hive nearly met it's demise, but thankfully, a garden inspection saved it. Before this snow, the ground had become so soft from the rain that the pipe footings were sinking into the soil on one side. It had nearly toppled over! I didn't even take time to get a photo... I just rushed in, got my husband to quickly construct a platform (that I had put off getting done), and four of us went out to the yard and strapped the hive well before slipping it up on the new stand. You can barely see it underneath the snow poking through. A couple of bricks were added for stability and since this photo, I've surrounded the hive with hay bales on 3 sides up to the top.
A very quick inspection on a warm day revealed the hive was still alive with plenty of sugar on the candy board. I'm really hoping these girls make it!
One other thing I often check are tree branches. When we get a wet snow, the load can be so heavy that branches on evergreens can break, so I take a stick and walk around the property knocking the snow off.
If you have a drip system or some kind of plumbing and you haven't drained the pipes (because you have animals that need water or something like that), be sure to check for signs of broken lines. Extra soggy ground, pooling or running water, or large amounts of ice that indicate a leak where water has frozen is a good indication that something's amiss.
Just think... only 67 more days until Spring is officially here (March 20, 2013), so hang in there... we can do this!