Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On an Early Spring

     You were all warned that this next post was going to be about all things green. I can't help it, the urge to plant, cultivate, and harvest runs deep in the DNA. My mother came from a farming family and she had us kids in our large garden from the time we could walk. I was helping to harvest strawberries and cucumbers before I knew how to read or write what they were. It is something we all took pride in, especially as we grew older and were able to help our elderly neighbor with his two acre plot of green goodness. Ol' Ben and I spent many long hours under the shade of two trees that sat smack in the middle of his yard. He'd be in his chair and I'd perch on the picnic table, all legs and full of questions. I loved that man as if he were my own grandfather and miss him dearly. Between him and my mother there was no chance for the green thumb to remain dormant.
     Even when I could not have a proper garden, containers filled with tomatoes, peppers, carrots and lettuce would line the porch. Now that my husband and I live on a beautiful three acres, my life is made so much more sweet. We have five 4 x 10 raised beds, with a sixth one going in this year. Out of those seemingly small beds we raised enough vegetables and legumes that, since November, we've only purchased one bag of frozen vegetables and no cans. Where my mother shied away from preserving in any form other than freezing, I have embraced the pressure canner and food dehydrator. Our kitchen cabinets and pantry are lined with various products of our labor.
    And now, it is starting again. Last week, the box of seeds was taken from its secure location. Packets were counted, lists were made, visits to the co-op and an online heirloom seed exchange kept the credit card active and the "master plan" was drawn on graph paper. On Saturday, the table and grow lights were set up indoors. A collection cardboard drink containers, the tops cut away and bottoms rinsed, along with various planters, were lined up. Out on the porch, a mess was being made as I painstakingly mixed a custom starter soil and hauled the tub of it inside. The seeds, preciously tiny promises of a future plant full of nutritious fruits, were pressed into the soil and lovingly covered. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, marigolds, basil, parsley, and more are now burrowed in the ground, starting the birthing process and preparing to break soil and grow up towards the light.
     Next weekend, the first of the early outdoor crops will do the same. The beds have already been supplemented and turned over, thanks to the help of one very eager teenager. We built a second fruit bed, and the strawberries which I have carried from house to house for six years now are finally in a permanent location. Spring, it is my favorite time of the year.

    *Book update! I was interviewed by the local paper last week. We are waiting with anticipation to see the article. Sales have been steady and reviews have been amazing. I'm really hoping that this article will help with the next stage of breaking into the public. I'll be back up in Winchester soon too, following up with the bookstores who have offered signing events and consignment sales.*

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