It feels like we’ve been waiting all winter for winter to arrive. We’re still waiting, by the way. Its been close to 4 weeks since we’ve had any snow on the ground around the farm and very little if any snow has graced the sky in any measurable amount since early January. With statewide snowpack at 72% of normal we are hoping for big, wet storms that typically grace Colorado in March and April.
The extended warm temperatures and little moisture are the talk of the town in this small agricultural valley that pays attention to the weather more than the average Joe. This is a valley that has a local newspaper that writes about the weather everyday. While we typically have warm spell in January and February, this prolonged warm weather has many growers watching the forecast and hoping that storm system—any storm system, will head our way with much-needed cooler temperatures and moisture.
When I asked Steve how he’s feeling about the warm weather, he said, “…it’s certainly disconcerting, but I can’t do anything about it. I’m guessing that any warm day is a day towards bloom. But I don’t know. I could worry myself to death, but I can’t change it”. Steve’s sentiments are echoed by many around here and many of us are waiting for this “seemingly interminable stretch of dry weather” to end. (Thanks to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for this gem of a quote).
So what does that mean, in reality? It means that the trees may be moving towards bloom. It means that trees could bloom earlier in the season and while this would be early, Steve says that this wouldn’t be “…off the charts early”. But still early. On the edge of the chart early. The biggest concern is knowing that these warm temperatures won’t last and it will become cold again. No matter what at our elevation, 5800 feet, there is always a frost. Is it better to have a frost early in the season or late, after you’ve spent thousands of dollars in propane? What if the Grand Mesa continues to receive little snow and we don’t have enough water for the trees? What water will we triage to which trees? And while much of farming can spent in the “what if’s?”, the reality is we have no control at all over what the weather does or will bring.
When I sat down to write this blog 30 minutes ago, it was sunny. Now, there is a blustery wind with snowflakes blowing sideways. It’s enough of a welcome sight that I get a hug from our daughter, “Just because it’s snowing”. Let’s hope the snow, colder weather and hugs last~all winter long and help to put things back to normal. And when the cold really does leave for spring to come, that it stays away until next winter.