Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just a quick "hello"!

Hello friends! I've got a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies in the oven, and needed something to do in the between-times of baking, so I thought I'd drop you a line or two. (Actually, the fireplace is roaring away, and my computer sits right beside it, so what better place to warm myself and look busy doing it!)

It is about 58 degrees in the house, and perhaps 40 outside, and expected to again be in the high-forties or low-fifties today, so there is not much point in starting the big wood furnace in the cellar, as I would be opening doors and windows in a few hours to cool the house back down, as there is no thermostat on the wood furnace. So I start the fireplace in the livingroom, and by blocking off the opening from the hallway to the livingroom with an old quilt, it stays toasty-warm in here. The kitchen is cooler... hence starting the stove and baking cookies to heat up that end of the house! We still have about a foot of compacted snow, with large bare patches melted away here and there. Mom and I saw about a hundred Canadian geese flying homewards yesterday. I had to pick up seeds and seedling starters, as I've been starting seeds in the greenhouse and used up all that I had. (Another toasty place to spend time, as the temperature hovers between 80 or 85 degrees on a good sunny day... without the propane heater going!) I still need to start some Lavender, Rosemary, Pansies, Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts, so I'll have to make another trip to town this week to get a few more seed pots.

My barn needs mucking out again, I need to rebuild one barn door and replace a gate that sprung on me, and I am late pruning the fruit trees... which I'd like to get done BEFORE we are knee-deep in mud. Sigh... Well, the timer's gone off, so I'll stop for now! Til next time...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March blessings to you

What delights us in the spring is more a sensation than an appearance, more a hope than any visible reality. There is something in the softness of the air, in the lengthening of the days, in the very sounds and odors of the sweet time, that caresses us and consoles us after the rigorous weeks of winter. ~Philip Gilbert Hamerton

So... spring is coming. And yes, even though I love winter, the snow, the sense of solitude, hearthside and stillness it brings for its season... my soul is feverish for spring and the desire to get started on the accumulating projects that beckon me from all around the farm. And I am longing once again for the anticipation spring carries; from the melting snows to the first chirrups of peepers in the wetlands, the lonesome calls of the owls as the sun settles for the evening, the return of the coyotes from the deeper parts of the woods, the first spurt of blue chiondoxa (glory-of-the-snow) and white snowdrops that push up through the last bits of snow, and the pussywillow catkins that burst forth from the cocoons they've wrapped themselves in all winter long.
It is March, and I still need to rig up a heater for the greenhouse to start seedlings within the next few weeks. I've warned my mother that the first project we will tackle when the mud dries up somewhat is to repair the fenceline around the furthest garden... the one that surrounds the blueberries, currants, gooseberries, strawberries and raspberries. The deer have managed to get in throughout the winter, so we will have to run it high enough to keep them out for the growing season. The next garden project is to transplant the Rhubarb, Horseradish, Egyptian and Welsh Onions to the opposite end of the vegetable garden, and finish digging out the Jerusalem Artichokes and planting them elsewhere, as they never should have gone in the garden in the first place! I want to also try installing cattle panel arches for the tomatos, cukes, squash, beans, peas, and gourds to climb on. But there are still piles of snow covering everything everywhere, so I will continue to yearn for longer, sunnier, warmer days (and contine thinking of chores needing doing!) Meantime, if we get another snowstorm, I won't be too upset! After all... it is March!
Here is a snow lantern that I built last week when we received another 6 inches of heavy snow! It stood on a snowbank just off the path leading to the kitchen and stood about 3 feet tall. We were able to light this for several nights, but it has now succumbed to the sun and warm temperatures. I was in my glory building snow sculptures last week... but soon tired of it when they began collapsing around me!