Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

How does your garden grow?

Brigit“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” Lao Tzu

There is so much happening so fast that it can only mean one thing, spring is just around the corner. This could be entirely wishful thinking but, trust me, if it is it is just better to let me simmer in that delusion for a while. Let's see, well, there have been lambs. I know - look how cute they are! This little ewe is sidling up to the side of the lambing pen she and her mom occupy to converse with the other little lamb next door about what the heck just happened to them (they are both less than a day old) and what the next few days have in store for them. The lambs always seem kind of shell shocked right after they're born. I mean, aren't we all? But it seems a more drastic conflict that with, say, human babies, because in less than 8 hours - they can be found running in circles around the barn over and over again, occasionally jumping on the back of a ewe who's just trying to take a little nap.

willowOn the other side of the fence, and a whole 8 hours her senior, is another little ewe. Our dear 10 who always fakes us out acting like she's going to lamb first every year and then ending up either being last or a few births into the season but this year she really had us hopping when she did go first. 10 is one of the ewes that has been with us for years. She has, hands down, the most wonderful fleece of any of our sheep. It is high luster, very soft, and has a really mohair, silky quality to it. Every year, she's had a ram. This year, twin ewes. One lamb was large and healthy and jumping around moments after being born but the other was very weak. We did what we could for her but she didn't make it through the evening. She left us with her head cupped in my hands and a pat and scratch behind her little ear. Nature works it's own cycles - we have no choice but to try to embrace that reality.

dreams of the summer gardenOther beginnings have been, well, beginning. I've got my hands on my garden already which just thrills me to no end. Usually, I get the catalog from my beloved Fedco seeds just after Christmas. As luck would have it, I generally have sore hands from finishing up all that holiday knitting so sitting down with a seed catalog and cup of coffee sounds just great about then. I'll go through every tasty morsel of description (Fedco does the best bedroom seed talking I've ever read - it's like garden porn for the insanely garden obsessed), make my list carefully, add up the cost of the seeds, cry when I look at my budget in comparison to the seed cost on my list, review and scrimp and make what is essential fit - and, this is the part where I should send it in , no? Well, I don't. Not until this year, anyway. What generally happens, instead, is I get really busy around that time, put the catalog and carefully made out order on a bookshelf somewhere, and forget to mail it until March. The first year I did this I wanted to slap myself. By the second year, I was thinking I might have been given a 'forget I didn't take the trash out and everything else' pill by SOMEONE who might not want to hear everything I have to say (cough- huscreature). Without being able to sanely blame it on anyone but myself, I resolved to do better the following year and, you guessed it, did it AGAIN. This is a problem because Fedco is a coop. You get what's there and it's best to just forget how much you like everyone else that buys there seed and rudely push yourself to the front of the line. I've never had the spine to do that so I often end up not getting a few things - that special paprika pepper that I've been pining for for years, some tomato that is so hot I think people might have to electric wire their gardens just to ensure jealous gardeners don't come steal their plants away under the cover of night.

vardo lSo, this year, I got my seed order in by the end of January (cheers and claps for herself because, you know, sometimes you've just got to do that or no one will LOL) and I'm soooo looking forward to the garden. Not as much as I'm looking forward to finishing these socks. I know, they don't look very far along in this pic but bear in mind that this is a 2nd sock - I'm working both socks, a few inches at a time, on two sets of dpn's. Besides, this was the picture from yesterday. It grew quite a bit last night and I am just smitten - purely puppy loving addicted to this yarn. I had planned to make the socks with this 'Vardo' yarn from my batts on the cuff and then knit the rest of the sock with the silk road roving I'd spun.vardo Now, though, I'm thinking stripes of vardo raining down and a touch of knee high bliss. We shall see.

I kind of surprise myself with how much I think in color. You can kind of tell from the variety of vegetables that I strive for that the dyer's mind and eye is always sort of working. This year, in addition to scaring myself by actually being organized and executing the purchase of seeds before the last minute - I felt a bold sense of adventure that I don't generally answer to. I mean, I love to try something new in the garden. Or a few things. The truth is, though, I'm a traditionalist. I prefer open pollinated varieties, old vintage varieties, tried and true garden champs. But, there is always color. The green bean that's purple, purple asparagus, yellow and purple carrots, black tomatoes, black squash, grey pumpkins, rainbow corn. I can't help it - I'm a sucker for color.vardo On the list of 'gotta try that this year' were some multicolor pole beans. I mean, color me a geek if you will but I was positively entranced by the idea of picking four different colored bean pods, lightly sauteing them in some olive oil and garlic, and crumbling some Parmesan cheese on top of. The yellow carrots are something I've tried before and haven't grown in a year or two but have missed their cheery sweetness so much that I had to have them back. And a dark, smokey black and green tomato gives your salad just that perfect 'goth' touch, especially when offset by some deep purple endive and a red tipped lettuce. See what I mean? Color is my addiction. So, now that you've seen the inside of the sock, here's a peek at what the cuff will look like when it's folded over to the 'beaded' edge. stands back a moment to savor it herself. Look, beads, shiny glass beads. I told you, puppy cute hearts and flowers smitten love! Of course, the color's not too shabby, either! LOL.

So, ignore the groundhogs, put some soap in your holes, and bring on the sun. To register for this month's chance at winning the Great Giveaway, tell me what you'd grow in the comments. I'll draw a name on the 15th......