Spring Left (or Winter is Coming)

(See what I did there?)

It’s pretty. For now. Before the carnage is revealed.

I forgot to tarp the girls and they’re a little pissed off about it.

I did cover the herb garden, as well as the lettuce and newborn carrots. I suppose I shall see what actually happens.

The snow makes Wendell fast.

And then we had snow cones made from real snow!

(Aaannnd super awesome Game of Thrones date night happened this week:)

Winter is Coming

Spring!

It crept in early while I was fretting and itching and planning.

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The air warmed and dampened and flowers poked up their heads.

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Then this morning my chores were accompanied by a 52 degree fog. The misty air, full of scent and energy, invited me to the reveal.  It’s here! Early or not, it’s here.

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This festival of life that comes every year, weather we humans choose to celebrate or not. Spring elation, better than Christmas and fleeting, like life itself.

Snow!

– -Probably the only bit we will get this year.

Frozen broccoli, anyone?

…I’m curious to see what happens to my garden after this. The kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli have done very well up to now. We’ve been into the twenties on several occasions, but have never had precipitation. Also tomorrow night is supposed to drop to around 10. I’m in zone 7b and will soon find out just how much my babies can take. 

Winter Happened to Jade 

In all of my dumbassery I consciously thought that my lovely Jade would survive a 20 degree night. I didn’t forget her; I thought of her and then thought, “Eh, she’s under the carport near the wall. She’ll be alright.”

Yes, I was born and raised in Florida. But I’ve lived in lands with winter for the last thirteen years. Shit freezes. Plant cells are full of water – especially succulents – and what does water do in frigid temps?

Well, the next morning in the garden I tried to cut some greens for the girls. Couldn’t really cut them because it was like using dull scissors on an ice cube. Then it hit me: The Jade must be frozen solid too!

She was given to me as a cutting in a tiny pot from my husband’s friend’s wife as a housewarming gift when we moved into our last house over six years ago. She’s grown enormous and is the clone-mother of several other jades. I love her and yet I was careless with her.

They say to bring the poor plant inside, wait until everything droops, sogs, and/or turns black. Then cut back to what (if anything) seems firm.

This looks promising.

On a lighter note, I found this little guy I’ve been missing in that jungle:

Hope

It’s been a week since my trees got cut down.  After participating in a good old fashioned Flip My Shit Cleanse, I’ve recovered.  I didn’t commit murder or arson, so I’m considering that a win.  I didn’t even utter many regrettable words.  I just threw a shoe, wailed and bawled, and took a bottle of wine (sans glass) to bed.  And whatever parts to which my sons were unfortunate witnesses will perhaps help prepare them for adulthood, assuming they may marry women who have loud, strong hearts.

Moving forward

On Sunday I finished up the garden prep and seeding for fall.  A few weeks ago I was questioning whether I could or wanted to do all the ripping and soil prep needed, but I ended up getting some plowing help from my guys and I’m very pleased with the results:

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I moved all the plants I could outside of the fence.  There are now beds alongside the fence, three down the middle, and row connecting them on top.  I have yet to transplant my (dwindling) brussels sprouts and broccoli (which will occupy the top connector and the widest center column, respectively) but everything else has been planted. In the garden lying in wait for possibility to crack them open, are:

  • snow peas
  • turnips
  • lettuce
  • baby bok choy
  • curly kale
  • black magic kale
  • carrots: orange, purple & red
  • and two herby things that my dad sent me

Silas specifically wanted purple carrots because he saw them in a community garden on PBS kids (does my heart good).  The carrots did really great in the single bag we grew earlier in the year, so we just did that again, but now we have five!  The carrots were the only way I could bribe that child to come out in the heat with me and when they were gone from the garden, so was he.

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Eddie and Silas planting colorful carrots

 

Back to the trees

The once majestic sycamore, lightning-struck and subsequently rendered a stump, offered up this sweet little glimmer of hope.

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When I took this picture, it seemed like a very sad futility. Just one more piece to kill in a week or two when the stumps come out.  But some time later an idea came to me: Can you clone a tree from a cutting?  Turns out, you definitely can.  By the time I have to harvest this little guy, he won’t be woody enough to be an ideal candidate.  He has very little chance of becoming a tree actually. But maybe with very good conditions and a little magic, the sycamore could survive. So I will try.

Sometimes things look black to me. It’s in my blood and I’m probably too old to truly change that. Sometimes when things are at their worst in my mind I actually see a sort of kaleidoscope of thick blackness hovering around my bed at night. But you know what? Morning always comes and there are always glimmers ready to be seen if I’m ready to look. I have hope. I’m actually relentlessly hopeful.

Me and my tree.

My Trees, My Heart

My dreams were full of rain.  I heard it and saw it and fretted over having to go out in it. Rain in dreams suggests crying or tears.  There have been lots of tears.

My heart hurts for my trees.  Six are getting removed.  Two came down yesterday and four more have seen their last sunrise today.  I know why it’s happening and I’m not trying to stop it, but my heart hurts anyway.  Especially for my beautiful maple with its bark that curls away from the trunk and the healthy gloss of its gray-green leaves.  That tree watches the birds with me and calms my spirit.  When I hugged it goodbye this morning before going to work, words I’d said to my mother (that I’d be back very soon–before I never saw her again in this life) echoed in my mind.

I know why I’m letting this happen: the house, the water, the foundation, the roof, my husband’s peace.  He knows that this is personally painful to me and so hasn’t pushed it forward until the lightning came.  But all of our knowing is meaningless because it is without understanding.  My heart cannot understand logic and he cannot understand my heart.

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 Carnage. Ugly Awful.

Right now this place feels destroyed. I should have stopped it.

Beautiful Ugly Apples

Today is Happle Day (Happy Apple Day) where we eat apple cobbler from our very own apples for dinner.  (I just made this holiday up as the cobbler was baking.) I happily have two gallon bags of frozen apples and a bunch of peels and cores in the fridge. Thinking about making apple cider vinegar and/or some hard cider with my scraps. The most fruitful harvest of the season came not at all from my efforts. It was just a gift.

Eddie is a good sport.  Don’t worry son, there’s always counseling. 

Update: I’m trying it. Vinegar on the left, hard cider on the right.  Only real difference is that cider recipe has more sugar.  Yeah I know that a kool-aid pitcher isn’t a legit fermenting jug, but while googling I discovered that people ferment actual kool-aid for cheap booze, so…..The good news is that nobody is going to be ingesting this stuff except for me, so there’s only a risk of poisoning one person. And not really, since I have a magical iron stomach.

Fun with Fermenting, or Stuff for the Compost Pile

Cheers!

Below are a links to sites that helped get me from 0 to here- o. But, to disclaim, I’m a ballparker when it comes to recipes.

Reassurance that Ugly Apples are Beautiful

Cobbler recipe – easy yum!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Scappy Cider

Spider Webs in the Fog

Foggy morning after last night’s storm

Every morning I destroy the intricate creations of my garden friends. Walking Wendell through the yard, I normally can’t detect the webs until they cover my face or shoulders like some kind of fairy’s veil.  This morning they were breathtakingly visible because of the fog. Everywhere I would expect to see one, instead were two or three! They are hard for me to catch with my camera…even my eyes. So this capture made me happy. I love these fantastic works of art and their creators.