Buckeye Chuck and Punksutawney Phil didn’t see their shadows yesterday, so spring is on it’s way! As we slip and slide on icy sidewalks this week, and some deal with power outages, this is a good thing. I enjoy living in a four seasons climate, but I understand why winter gets the bad rap. It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s icy. It’s just not that much fun. But I’d rather wear a sweater than shorts and sit in front of a crackling fire than sweating in a lawn chair.
Even so, I’m starting to miss being outside, mowing the lawn and working in the garden. We live outside the outerbelt on a seven-acre slice of heaven, or Narnia as my classmates like to call it. When the green growth season is upon us, my family will eat dinner and then work outside until the security light flickers on around 9 pm. These days I’m trekking outside around 5 pm to close the henhouse door and feed the rabbit and goats. I feel guilty about running back in as quickly as possible, and I’m sure the animals are muttering something about their wussy benefactor. What can I say? It’s cold out there!
Soon enough though we’ll be starting seeds in the basement. We plant dozens of heirloom peppers and tomatoes each year along with just about anything else that sounds good: tomatillos, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, pumpkins, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, soybeans (edamame), spinach, swiss chard, broccoli…you get the picture. We use as much fresh produce as possible, share with friends and family, feed some to the animals, and I can as much produce as time permits. Opening a fresh jar of tomatillo salsa on a February afternoon is a reminder of warmer days to come.
In a few weeks we’ll start to see the first crocus blossoms. By Easter I can plant peas, spinach and other cold season vegetables. The orchard will start to burst into bud, and we’ll anxiously watch the weather reports hoping that a late frost won’t nip our chances of reaping a bounty of apples, cherries and peaches. I can’t wait to smell the hyacinths and peonies, but I can wait a little longer. After all, once winter removes her snowy blanket and the sun begins to shine, it’s time to rise up and battle grass, weeds and wildlife for another growing season. I think I’ll sit back and enjoy winter for now.