This time of year the weather is always all over the map out here in the Central Cascades. Storm systems from the Pacific make their way east and can converge in very interesting ways in the valleys that head east towards the High Cascades and their peaks. Sometimes, our Robe Valley gets pummeled with squalls and the next moment the sun breaks out. Rain, snow, slush, sleet, or a mix of them all can hit us, but the peak of Mt. Pilchuck, on the south side of this valley, acts as a great rain shadow for our plateau on the north side of the valley.
Paca Pride sits up against the southern slopes of the Green Mountain Ridge, you can see it curve eastward when you look down the pasture. Watching the ridgeline is a great seasonal barometer. We are quickly learning how the rising and falling snowline relates to our micro-climate here at the ranch. You can also watch the clouds roll over the ridge from the north and gather into a squall further up the valley in Verlot. Spring slowly creeps further up its sides and we can tell when it will be fairly safe from frost to put out summer veggies in the garden (tomatoes and hot peppers are eagerly awaiting their garden plots under the row covers).
Well protected from the dance of the weather, are all the garden plants safe under plastic row covers. These mini-greenhouses really have a head start on the growing season. While others are still waiting for their soils to warm up and dry out, we’re harvesting spinach, lettuce, giant green onions, plenty of herbs, leeks, green garlic, and more!
At present, work is focused on some final accessory pieces of campground development. Earlier, work began on adding three platforms for pitching tents, having an event, or awaiting a future guest yurt. For now, we’ll finish these out complete with tarp coverings and railings around the back and sides, and stairs in the front. The decks will feature some rustic charm with log poles at front and back to hold the centerline of the tarp. The goal is for them to look like little outposts. Over time, landscaping will help define the space. We’ll carry this theme of a western fort with smaller decks for yurts nestled in amongst the tree line heading down to the Roundhouse.
Back at the house, more logs went into the ground in preparation for building our outdoor campground kitchen. It’s plumbed for a sink and propane for a stove and grill, so we just need to build the roof. It will be a shed style roof following the roof line of the house. Once complete, this area will be available for all campground guests for cooking and as a water station. Over time, trails will lead off from the kitchen directly into the garden area.
The biggest influence on getting any outdoor work done during Spring is the weather. Luckily, there aren’t too many days that are completely rainy all day. Most of the time a quick squall comes through and then its dry again. Some recent storms, however, really delayed the kitchen logs. The tractor had an auger attached and was parked in the spot for the first hole, ready to go. But, the ground was too saturated to be digging and pouring concrete. So, it sat there for a week until the window of clear weather came.