Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I have a serious spring itch. I've been pacing the perimeter of my gardens, looking for any sign that it's ready to plant. I'm so ready for fresh vegetables. I'm so ready not to buy vegetables anymore. I'm so ready to use that fancy new pressure canner I got last year but could never use because of the accident.
My seeds are bought. I still need to visit a nursery for a few items. I will probably get carried away, like I do every year. I love nurseries. Knut took a big leap this last week and bought some pasture seed. Last fall, he rearranged the border of the land that we own just south of our house, and rent out to the family farm. We're renting out a bit less, and keeping more, converting it to pasture for animals we hope to raise.
I'm slow enough not to realize that when converting conventionally farmed land to pasture isn't just "letting it go back to nature." Knut researched what sort of "salad bar" beef like to eat, and got nearly 12 different varieties of grass seed to plant there. Each variety serves a healthy purpose for the cattle, and I suppose we humans need a varied diet as well, so it makes sense. I just hadn't stop to think about it. There is a science to everything.
The problem is that beef just got really expensive in the last year or so, so I don't know if we'll even get any animals this year. Well, we'll have the grass for them. We'll work towards getting a fence. We'll get there in baby steps. There's also the element that we have no idea what we're doing, so the idea of getting any animal that large is a bit intimidating.
I think the first thing that will get done by me in the gardens this year will be the flowers. We're planning on converting the old vegetable garden to a cutting flower garden. Oh, that's going to be fun!
While I'm waiting for the ground to thaw and dry, I'm trying to get as much done inside as I can. I'm doing a bunch of freezer cooking this week (in my lovely bright kitchen!), as my freezer meal stash got completely depleted during the kitchen project. Cooking a new meal every night is hard! I don't know how people do it. By the end of this week, I should have 15 meals in the freezer, which is a start to a good stash. When I get to that magic number, then I seem to be able to manage it.
Once I have about half a month like that, I make myself pay in meals in order to take some out. For instance, every time I pull a meal out of the freezer, I have to put a batch of at least 3 meals back in the freezer sometime that week. It allows me to cook on the days that I'm available to cook, and skip cooking when we're crazy busy. When I have to pay in 3 meals in order to take out one in a week, I move up to 30 meals in the freezer very easily. At that point, I can plan on only making one batch of a freezer recipe a week, which is very manageable. It allows for lots of time for other things... like gardening.
There is something other-worldly about the anticipation in spring. It's the definition of expectation, and the understanding of hope. Everyone around here gets excited when the first robin is spotted. It's like this yearly expectation that everything will be made new. Things will grow. Color will appear. Perfume of pollen will blow in the air. Trees will bud and bloom. Apples will grow heavy on branches.
There will be mud pies, earthworm exploration, forts built in the woods, and dirty rings around the bathtub, and handheld bulldozers moving dirt at the foot of bleachers at softball games. There will be cold watermelon, Sunday potlucks with the extended family at the lake, bocce ball tournaments, and sunlight that lasts hours after the kids' bedtime, and allows for quiet, reflective walks with the dogs around the yard at the end of crazy days.
I am so ready.