Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Winter's Reflection

Traditionally speaking it makes little sense, but traditions being what you make of them, Winter Solstice feels like New Year’s to me.  There is just something about it.  Maybe it’s the lack of light and the depth of cold.  It could be because  I am a gardener at heart, and it is the halfway point between putting the garden to bed in October and starting seeds in February.  Or perhaps it’s that the Solstices and Equinoxes have always been the most important part of my spiritual path.  I don’t know, but Yule, for me, is an end to things…and a beginning. 

I find this day to be so much about reflection.  Time to sort through all that has happened in the past year, to reflect on my life and realize what is meaningful and worth keeping, and what I need to discard.  I don’t really do resolutions, but treat it as more a sort of winter version of spring cleaning for my mind. 

Winding down now, my day has been full of quiet contemplation, along with a few festive gifts and snacks.  It has not turned out exactly as I had planned or expected (case in point, as I type this it is thundering, which is not exactly the most winterish of things in southwest Ohio…), but knowing that this holiday is often about change, I can’t help but believe that all is as it should be.

So, as a part of my quiet celebration, my wish for you is a Blessed Yule, Happy Winter Solstice, and a Merry Whatever Winter Holiday You Choose.  Have fun and be safe, people!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Plotting, Planning, Pondering

Snowflakes, icicles, and the rustle of bare branches in the chill December wind…it’s beginning to look a lot like… planning time.
I suppose it’s totally a plant geek sort of thing, but there’s nothing I love more on the most bitter of winter days than to dig out the new seed catalogs and daydream about the garden to come. 

And it does require an awful lot of planning.  You know that old saying, it seems everyone has heard it at some meal from a parent or grandparent over the years, about your eyes being bigger than your stomach?  I am pretty much constantly afflicted with the gardening version of that.  Can I grow enough beans for a few decent cannings, plus eight varieties of (multiple) tomato plants on the paltry 1/8th of an acre my house sits on?  Probably not.  Will that stop me from trying?  Well… hasn’t so far.

I’ve no real idea yet of what I’m going to grow this year.  I have my favorites of course, the ones that after much trial and error have become garden necessities:

Royalty Purple Pod Beans, as gorgeous as they are yummy. 
Miniature Red Bell Peppers, quick growing, space saving, prolific, and the best tasting of sweet peppers.
Nyagous Tomatoes, one of the tastiest and most reliable black tomatoes I’ve ever tried.
Trifetti Peppers, the only fruiting plant that I grow entirely for it’s beauty, and how amazingly well its leaves press and dry.
Other than those few standbys, I don’t know.  But I do know that outside there is already a blanket of snow on the ground, temps that didn’t quite make it out of the teens, and yet another incoming weather advisory.  It is definitely time for a hot cup of tea, a snuggle up on the couch, seed catalogs, and the dreams of a sleeping garden.