Friday, December 6, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Usually, I move all my potted citrus trees indoors for the winter. But I have too many now and they're too big and heavy. So I strung old-fashioned Christmas lights on them -- lights that get quite warm -- and left them outside. The only place I could find such lights was ebay. I bought them last March and used them whenever the temperatures threatened to drop below freezing. That worked great last spring. But it's much colder now.

Time will tell if my poor citrus trees survive our current cold snap. It was 16 F the other night and predicted to be 14 tonight. It has not been above freezing for days. I notice some frost damage on the growing tips and the little oranges that were forming look a bit blotchy.

As you can see, we now have about four inches of snow on the ground, which will help protect the plants in the ground from the cold. But it does not snow under the eaves of the house where I have the citrus trees (and one unhappy avocado), snuggled up as close to the greenhouse windows as possible. Johnny does not appreciate that I open the greenhouse door into the house at night to let a little house woodstove heat out into the greenhouse. The greenhouse plants are mostly tropical and appreciate heat. Plus, I'm hoping that keeping the greenhouse warmer keeps the citrus trees against that wall warmer.

Not just plants suffer in this cold weather. As usual when snow covers the ground, birds ascend to our apple trees to find food. Like this Spotted Towhee.

 And Varied Thrush. Lots of these pretty thrushes have come down from the hills now that the snow is deep up there.

The poor California Quail do not fly up for apples. They huddle on the ground looking quite miserable and cold. 

Our little fish pond is mostly snow covered, but the faithful spitting frog is keeping one end open so the birds have water to drink, if they want. 

It's a tough time for wild things. And for my citrus trees. Since I'm burning those Christmas lights day and night, the bulbs burn out rather soon. I just received an order of more replacement bulbs from the same ebay buyer. She ships quickly and reportedly has lots of bulbs. That's good because I doubt we'll be done with sub-freezing weather any time soon.

Baby, it's cold outside!

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