Yesterday our weather patterns made a move back towards something that feels a bit more seasonable for Northern Maine. Today the thermometer hasn’t moved above 0° F, and I’ve kept the woodstove stoked. Yet, despite this cold that always seems to settle in sometime in January, we can by this point truly feel the days lengthening and it seems to raise everyone’s spirits a bit.
Yesterday the first tiny florets opened on the paperwhite narcissus in my bedroom window. That south-facing window is one of the few in the house that lets in sunlight, and when we replaced the original, tiny, old awning style window (shudder!) two summers ago, I insisted on wide sills. I’ve filled my window with greens, herbs, and flowers, and it never fails to calm and rejuvenate me.
I spent the afternoon collaborating on a joint seed order with my folks, and came home with my head reeling. I’m planting a garden this summer! This little lakeside cottage has many positive attributes, but it lacks two that I find essential: natural light and decent arable soil. I haven’t grown vegetables since 2008, when toddlers, infants, time, money, and the 14-mile round trip commute to our farm proved means that outweighed the end. And though Mom and Dad have been more than generous with their bounty (and the labor it requires!), there’s just something about growing your own veggies that makes everything taste better. In a few short months, when we make the move to this little old farmhouse on our farm, I’ll begin cultivating the soil for garden beds–the first this old homestead has seen in decades–and we’ll be eating fresh peas, chard, tomatoes, potatoes, and more. I’ll be keeping it small this year, and sticking with what I know (no experiments, no variety trials), and because we always grow organic, this year we ordered from local Fedco Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont, which has proven reliable in years past. Later this week, I’ll put in a seed potato order with Wood Prairie Farm, just down the road, and choose some bright, easy annuals for a little low maintenance pretty (most likely my beloved zinnias, sunflowers, nasturtiums, sweet peas, and cosmos). Ah, that feels good!
This morning I left one boy sick in bed with a nasty head cold, and waited with the small boy for the bus in the cold early morning light. We noted that the coyotes have once again added our yard to their nightly rounds, and though I know my fear is a bit silly, I’ll be more vigilant when the kids play outside at dusk.
How are you whiling away the long colds, and what are you planting in your garden (literal or figurative) this summer?