Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's Back.....(frost season on the cranberry marsh)

It's that time of year again where cranberry growing couples across the country (well, at least, Wisconsin) are begrudgingly plugging in the frost alarm.  For those not familiar with this technology, it's basically an alarm clock that sounds when the temperature falls below a certain number, usually around 34 degrees.  Frost season is somewhat like having a baby, a recurring baby year after year.  A baby that needs constant attention, even in the middle of the night, and if you ignore it for even a minute too long, you just might lose a good percentage of your year's income.

So here we are.  The buds are softening and swelling - a sure sign that the winter dormancy phase is coming to an end.  The sun has been shining - mostly.  The daytime temps have been warm - as high as 80 degrees.  And the night temps have been low.  Put it all together and you get FROST SEASON!!

We still monitor the temperature using the "old" method.  Basically a wire runs underground from a low point on the marsh to our bedroom.  That's where the alarm is.

Frost alarm station.  Setting it up for frost season.

Warren sets out the thermometer houses.

Checking the temperature reading for accuracy.

Our kids don't know it any other way.  When there's work to do, they get involved.  Maria keeps the ATV seat warm and watches daddy put out thermometers.

Placing another thermometer.  The ramp makes it easy to check the thermometers at night.  Falling in the cold ditch is to be avoided.

That's a cranberry bud.  Can you tell it's whitening a little in the center?  That means the growing season is near and so is frost watch!
Pressuring up the sprinklers, making sure everything is in working order BEFORE the first night of frost.

Looking at the chickens, just because.

Happy Spring to you all.  May you have uninterrupted sleep and pleasant dreams.....unless you're also a cranberry grower.  Then go to bed early, sleep fast, keep one eye on the alarm, and remember to put fresh batteries in your flashlight.