Me vs Old Man Winter


Just getting in from shoveling yet another foot of snow, I am beginning to accept that winter wins.

But, while I paused amidst the heavy shovels, what also came through is the undeniable truth of the beauty of this season, and all the happiness it can bring. That is, if one can just accept it and not imagine that there is another choice.

Well, there are choices of course, being a snow-bird is one, but that is certainly not universal, and definitely not one for me.

So, back to acceptance. Research has shown that when faced with the inflexibility of a situation, we humans are apt to settle into a quiet kind of peace with our lot. Surprisingly, that is not true of people with plenty of choice.

But, that's not where I am going with this. Instead, I think we must look back to appreciate where we are. Think about all those dog days of summer and how you'd pay any price (carbon foot print notwithstanding) to escape them, and you'd probably find yourself smack in the same situation.

Then, if you can find it in your heart, you will see the season of winter is surely a generous one. It brings us closer to home and its hearth, through hot dishes, like hearty stews. Sitting by a spirited fire and enjoying time in its wholeness with those you love, and appreciating their company. Reveling in the transformation of the landscape only given by snow.

Below ground there are things happening, too. In a year where there is abundant snow, vitality is brought to sleeping life (think micro and macro). Underground nutrient recycling is going strong -- the moisture brought by snow help propel bacteria and fungi to do their important stuff. Poor man’s nitrogen is the phrase, but this goes far beyond that.

So next time you curse the forecast and wince at the white stuff piling up, remember that in the long haul, the season is full of opportunities to reassess and revive.

Now, let me put some hot chocolate on!

Savoring the Seasons


The seasons converge on this warm November day. I have just finished mulching the garlic and planted some shallot and onion sets as part of my annual experiment of overwintering alliums. The latter of these were harvested in high summer as tiny orbs that wouldn't serve well culinarily. The garlic planting has long since replaced my planting Tulip bulbs, which, for me is a ritual that represents active hope. Hope and belief that one will be “around” when they sprout come Spring.

In spite of these Fall preparations, I am about to sit down to a unseasonable lunch--the last salad of the year whose vegetable component is entirely homegrown: an undetected, and thus large cucumber plucked from the vine hours before last week's freeze, a few house-ripened tomatoes that were suspended on the vine, still green, a few weeks back, dill that with prescient wisdom I had oven-dried when the stand of it was forest-like at the beginning of summer, individual portioned sized Red Marble Cippolini onions harvested in the warmth of an August sun, and some slighly frost scorched lettuce that was plucked from the garden in the middle of last week’s snow shower.

The forecast for the next few days promises temperatures that will ease all living things further towards the natural progression of seasons that includes still shorter days and longer nights. But right now, eying this lunch, I revel in the joy of living in a place where there are seasons and am reminded that each one of them give gifts that could not be savored without he passing of the other.


You may have noticed it, or not, but the birds have been singing songs of spring. Some of us think the American Robin is the harbinger of this most welcome season, but seeing Robins in January leaves me unconvinced. And a quick bit of research revealed that American Robins are the proverbial early birds, as the males (the vanguard of the sexes), usually precede the females to stake out their territory. The Robin’s song sounds like a bird being, excuse the expression, goosed!

But, when I hear the Redwing Blackbird song, I will know that Spring has arrived for sure.

Despite Spring’s tentative arrival, it is time to sow onions. I am sowing nearly 4,000 seeds today for my Grant Study that, though slightly sized down, will go on this year at Turtleback Farm.

Varieties have been chosen for their long-storage capabilities: Cortland which is a medium yellow type and Red Wing, which is similarly sized red, and coincidentally named!

Count down to Spring

A thick blanket of snow covers the ground as far as the eye can see, yet signs of spring are everywhere: lust inspired birdsong, swelling tree buds, snowdrops, now under 20” of snow! All living things rise slowly from their chilly slumber with the lengthening days. Hope springs eternal.


Supporting your local Farmer?

Teddy Bolkas via Facebook:
how many of you shop regularly at farmers markets? for those of you that don't, what would be the deciding factor to get you going? what would you guys like to see at the markets? i'm trying to improve some markets and could use the feedback! please share the post so we can get as many opinions as possible! thank ya!!