Lake Painting

Warm (well… at least a bit mild) Middle and End to January–BUT FIRST 3 DAYS OF Brrr, Brrr and more Brrrr!!

I have seen a mild period of January coming for nearly a week.  However, I was afraid to post about it since I thought it might be a bit of sub-conscious wishful thinking!  Now I have enough confidence in this forecast to tell not only my family but the readers of this blog as well.

I do like the bug-free, winter season with the lakes safely frozen, about a foot of pristine sparkly white snow in the woods, and enough of the white stuff to decorate the evergreens, with daytime temperatures in the mid 20s to upper 30s, at least a good daily peak at the sun, along with light winds and most roads in good winter driving conditions AND not having to think about sub-zero temperatures hurting the peach trees!  Lets face it, that’s as close to heaven as one will get on this earth.  What I don’t like is the bitter cold, with biting winds, roads either icy slick or snow clogged and especially, freezing rain not only making walking and driving almost impossible but causing broken branches and the resulting downed power lines that can make simply staying in the safety of ones home uncomfortable.  This December, unlike the last 10 or so Decembers, has brought us more of the latter type of weather than the former.  The good news is that there is a major shift in the weather coming, which means it will be warmer.  I am not saying it will be like the almost heaven-like weather I just described–it just might be too warm for that– but long stretches of the bitter winter weather will soon be over for this winter…but…but…there is always a but, isn’t there? … we will first have to go through 3 days of some of the bitterest, biting cold winds we have faced for many years.  This near record setting cold spell will start late Sunday and probably not ease up until next Thursday.  Get set for it!

Weather thoughts, seed ordering and more…

First off I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, like we did, and I hope you and (us) have a great 2014!

I sort of hate to say this, but it’s true, my forecast for a colder than normal December has come through, even though Saturday (December 28) is going to be so mild and nice.  Most of next week looks to be very, very cold with temperatures perhaps dropping to below zero.  This makes me a bit nervous since when the temperatures drop below -12F, peach trees and their flower buds can be damaged.  Temperatures below -16F usually means the end of the year’s peach crop.  Since we plant our peach trees in a favorable location, -16F at the Fremont airport (the official Fremont recording temperature) or even at GR’s airport, doesn’t mean it has got down to -16F at our peach orchard!  Back in 1994 I believe it got down to -22F at the GR airport and only down to -18F at our peach orchard–however that -18F finished our peaches anyway!  The other year when our peaches were damaged from the winter’s cold was 1984–I hope that “4″ in the year doesn’t mean something!

The good news is that it looks to me that late next week the air will moderate and maybe, just maybe, we will have an early January thaw setting in around January 4!  (BTW this is in contrast to NOAA’s 6-14 day forecast which is calling for colder than normal temperatures and NOT warmer!) It also looks like the rest of winter will be warmer than the December we just have gone through, which was the coldest December in over 10 years.  BTW, some climatologists are now forecasting that 2014 will be the warmest year, throughout the world, EVER!  Of course, even if they are right, this doesn’t mean necessarily that Magicland Farms will experience the heat since this encompasses the whole earth and right now most ocean water–Atlantic and Pacific– are warmer than normal, which seems to indicate those climatologists may be right.

As usual this time of year we are making seed orders.  We mostly deal with commercial seed houses which sell in large quantities.  For instance, our seed orders for beans and corn come in 25 pound and 50 pound bags.  However, we also buy from places like Burpee which are restricted to selling in small quantities. Keep in mind while Burpee puts a high price tag on their seeds, they do have special deals, including promo codes and copons AND Ebates will provide 7% cash back.  To sign up for ebates go to their website at ebates.com.  We use ebates frequently and like to see their check come in the mail! (You can also have them send you the money using direct deposit.)

Since we buy our seeds in such large quantities we get them a bit cheaper.  Because of this we can compete with most home garden seed companies.  We have been selling seeds at our stand for over 2 years.  However, since we don’t open the stand until fairly late–sometime between late April and late May–many people have already purchased their seed for the season.  We plan on selling seeds online this year.  Right now we have our Wisconsin seed pecans and giant pumpkin seeds for sale.  We plan on putting more seeds up for sale in the next two months, including a good selection of heirloom tomato seeds.  To see Magicland Farms’ Online Seed Store click here.

As you may already know, I grew up on the southwest side of Chicago in the Gage Park district. My grandmother on my mother’s side was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska and she always had roots back in the soil.  She instilled my love for growing things in me and I remember planting beans in our yard back in Chicago.  Well, the beans I first grew tasted OK but it didn’t make me a bean lover, but then I planted Burpee’s Tenderpod beans–those were really delicious and really encouraged me to eat beans.  While we won’t be selling Burpee’s Tenderpod beans (they are way too expensive) we have been growing and selling for years a secret bean we call Magicland’ Famous Beans which is at least as tasty as the Tenderpod and at less than half the price! My wife Annemarie has been asked what is the variety name of the beans we sell and she has said “If I tell you, I’d have to shoot you!”  This variety of bean is getting harder for us to find and there are only a couple of sources we have found for it.

 

St Bartholomew’s Christmas Craft Show is Today from 9AM to 3PM

Two of my daughters will be vendors at St. Bartholmew’s Christmas Craft show from 9AM to 3PM.  St. Bartholomew’s is located in Newaygo, just West of Wesco.  They will be delighted if you stop at their tables and say hi.

Will next week be the coldest week of the winter?

First off, yesterday we officially closed for the season.  We  hope to reopen again — weather permitting– around the first of April with the apples we have stored away.

Next week, especially the early part of the week, is going to be darn cold.  This fits in nicely with my thinking that December is going to be colder than average.  However, it does look like the weather pattern will change after the arctic dumps its cold air next week on the US and even Mexico!  To be honest, December doesn’t look to be as cold, on average, as I thought just a few days ago.  Couple interesting notes.  Right now there is freezing rain likely not only in the mid South like Arkansas, but also Fairbanks Alaska!  Also, if you like California Navel oranges you might want to buy them sooner than later–there are hard freeze warnings out for the major orange growing area in California.

 

Thursday, December 5, 2013: We will be closing up for the season this morning.

This morning we plan on putting our apples and squash into our storage areas starting at around 10AM.  (In other words we are closing down for the season today.) We will be down at the stand until around 11:30AM so there is one last chance this year to purchase apples and squash from us.  Keep in mind all produce until we close is 1/2 off! I will mention in tomorrow’s blog post my new view of the rest of winter…

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013: We will be open today–all produce 1/2 Price!

We will again be open today at 10AM and close at 5PM.  Since today will be the last full day we will be open this season (we plan on being at stand tomorrow morning to clean out the stand), we now are selling all produce in the stand at half price! We still have a good selection of apples, all at half marked prices! Also,  we do have both Celebration and Heart-Of-Gold squash–also at half price.  Apparently these squash are so loaded with sweetness that they didn’t get hurt by the cold!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013: Open today! 1/2 off on everything!

We will again be open today at 10AM and close at 5PM.  Since tomorrow will be the last full day we will be open this season, we now are selling all produce in the stand at half price! We still have a good selection of apples, all at half marked prices! Also, while I mentioned in my last blog we no longer have any squash, we do have both Celebration and Heart-Of-Gold squash–also at half price.  Apparently these squash are so loaded with sweetness that they didn’t get hurt by the cold!

Monday, December 2, 2013: We will reopen today–we will close for the season on Wednesday, December 4

We plan on opening today at 10AM and we will be closing for the season on Wednesday, December 4.  While we no longer have squash or pumpkins, we still have a nice supply of a variety of apples.

Saturday, November 30, 2013:Closed again today, will be open on Monday

While it will be above freezing today, we decided to keep the door closed today and open up on Monday.  Right now, hopefully we will be open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Thursday December 5th will be our final day for the season.  Today we plan on clearing the snow from around the stand for easier access on Monday.

Friday, November 29, 2013: Closed today because of cold and snow at stand.

Today the temperature is forecast to only reach 32F, which is borderline opening criteria.  This fact, along with nearly 6 inches of snow at the stand, has forced us to keep our doors closed today.  We are undecided about opening tomorrow and we will make this decision before 9AM tomorrow and include details of our decision in tomorrow’s blog post.