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About a decade ago, in the depth of winter when I was really craving fresh salad greens, I suddenly recalled back in the day when we used to grow sprouts on the windowsill. I renewed the habit with a fervor, proselytizing to everyone what a great remedy it was for S.A.D.; seasonal deficit disorder,(or lack of S.U.N.).

And indeed it is.When you just want to grow SOMETHING, it’s just the ticket, and for  much less than the price of winter lettuce shipped from southern climes, plus a jar and plenty of H2o, and whatever it takes to remember to rinse them a few times a day.

Seed packets gathered and studied, planting guides referenced, 10 day farm weather forecast bookmarked, I continue to scrutinize the thermometer daily .

 

And as I crunch away on a mouthful of  vibrant green sprouts, I am a little more patient as I wait for the days to lengthen, contemplating the miracle of a seed…

As the winter progresses,empty canning  jars of varying sizes tend to accumulate at the back of the counter next to the dish drainer as we finish off jams, salsa, pickled carrots and other delights from the larder. All of the easy- to- reach spots in the pantry have been claimed. So now it involves hauling a chair into the pantry to get empty storage boxes down from the upper shelves, in addition to maneuvering around baskets of nuts, apples, and a rotating assortment of things that end up in there awaiting their proper place. Note to self: Next year remember to put the box of apples back outside when the mercury rises above freezing. Onions, squash,garlic and potatoes don’t store as long in their company. Which brings me back to my story.When I went into the pantry to get a box down for the jars, I saw that I’d left a few sprouting onions on the floor after I’d sorted a bagful to share with a friend who stopped by last night. (I’d noticed last week that a few were beginning to sprout, and since have been using copious quantities in my already-onion-filled repertoire, as well as putting the word out to friends with whom I trade ‘food for favors’ that it’s onion feasting time.) I soon found myself on the floor among a litter of papery red and yellow onion skins, sorting onions into piles to be used right away, those that are still nice and firm, and others which were so exuberantly sprouting that they were destined for the compost pile. Onion skins followed on my heels like a litter of rambunctious kittens as I carried the crate of onions across the kitchen and out the door, helped along by gusts of wind, which scattered them whirling across the yard.

Kitchen and pantry swept, remaining onions stored… Oh. Yeah. A box for the jars…!

 

preparations …

Here’s an exercise for a cold gray February day: …Imagine a perfectly sunny spring afternoon, meandering along forest edge and trails in search of ripe salmonberries and their blossoms,wild rosebuds scenting the warm air…  If you didn’t yet have spring fever, that might’ve done it. I was recalling the day I’d set out to find the perfect ingredients for a design that would convey a message of celebration, since I just added it to my Etsy shop this week.

As promised, here’s a photo of the ‘Celebrate’ card design in progress. If you’d like to see the final result , check it out  here:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/67389273/celebrate-card?ref=pr_shop

Imagination is a powerful force-as I write, the sun is attempting to shine! I  put off my daily walk this morning with the hope that it might warm up a bit, and I just might have gotten lucky. Each time I set out, I breathe in the unique smells of the day as I walk along, and notice where they’re coming from. This time of year, it might be smoke from neighboring woodstove fires, or the earthiness of decomposition. Ever mindful of seasonal transitions, recently formed catkins hanging from wild hazelnut trees around the area have caught my eye, as I wonder what new ingredients might reveal themselves in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for photos and updates! Let the sun shine.

rainy day musings

Friday,Jan 28- Late morning finds me listening to the music of the the rain falling as I paste up some cards.My mind stays busy with daydreams of seeds sprouting, and anticipating the taste of the first nettles that will soon be ready for picking. I’ve been noticing buds swelling on the Indian Plum that grows near  the house, and along our daily walking route there are tiny ones forming on the Salmonberry vines. In the garden the chives have begun poking through the rain soaked soil, alongside the first emerging regrowth of sorrel leaves. I had the urge to crouch down and just take a bite ! Something about that happy green life-force. Does it sound like I’ve  got spring fever? I know, I know, it’s much too early.

big enough for a taste

 

can hardly wait to jazz up some egg salad or potatoes with some snippets of these.

 

emergence

Young garlic tips have also emerged, to my great relief. That long deep freeze we had in November had me worried since I never did get around to buying straw to mulch it. Twice now, I’ve heard frogs croaking, and it made me want to dance a jig. (Which in fact we did last weekend at a dear friend’s wedding celebration which was a contra dancing EXTRAVAGANZA!) Perfect for shaking the mid winter doldrums.

Saturday Jan 29…Another very, very rainy day, and this time I never made it on my walk. I watched from inside the cozy house as the rain blew sideways, the trees swaying crazily in the wind.I spent most of the day adding new postings to my Etsy shop  getting lost in the memories of dryer, sun filled days as I worked on writing descriptions for various designs.Recalling how the designs came about transported me back in time and space…bees buzzing, the smell of sun warmed soil, kneeling along the rows as we thinned and weeded, weeded and planted, the world growing smaller but so much larger as we moved along the rows. Always a relief to stand again and stretch, taking in the wide expanse of sky and surrounding vistas we never tire of admiring. Lucky us.

Jan 30, Sun

SUN! The wind started blowing yesterday late afternoon, and kept up all night and into today, sending the clouds away, but lowering the temps down to freezing. Our steps were noticeable quicker as we started our walk today, as tears blurred the brightness of the day, noses ran,& our faces grew ruddy. I did brave the elements just a while longer to snap a few shots of the aforementioned flora.

Time to get dinner started. Pulling some bird’s eye beans from the freezer to stew along with kale and some locally made chicken sausage, and from our pantry, some winter squash to go with it. Perfect winter fare.

Wish you were here.

 

pasting cards on a rainy day

My daughter Sierra set me up to start this blog  over a year ago, in support of my venture in creating card designs that will supplement my  income from farm work. Despite the long gap in postings, I feel that those first ones reflect the beginning, the place where all good stories start, so I will leave them for those who want to start there.

I’ve been blogging in my head since that last entry, thinking that until I got my cards available online , that I wouldn’t be able to fully share the purpose and ‘going’s on’ of my Season’s Gleanings blog and it’s related stories.

I hope you’ll join me to celebrate Season’s Gleanings second ‘birthday’ , and come along on the journey with me as I find my way. Check out my first batch of cards on Etsy. They’re from my ‘heart’ collection, in honor of, well, you know that holiday that’s coming up.

YES!

what's still in the garden

As the shortest day of the year approaches, my mind is filled with rich memories of the past season, complimented by their taste in the foods grown, stored and preserved from  farm and garden. As I reflect on the bountiful harvest, I am once again filled with gratitude for the land and the many hands that labored , along with our good fortune to live in a place with such abundant diversity of food.

I recently read the book PLENTY- One man, one woman and a raucous year of eating locally, which recounts the authors’ entertaining adventures in eating the 100 mile diet. Their stories echo many of my own thoughts and experiences of enjoying the foods grown close to home, and the satisfaction it brings with every bite.

I’m just finishing another book:(yes, now  is the season for catching up on reading!) Wisdom of the Last Farmer -Harvesting Legacies From The Land  by David Mas Masumoto. His writing has carried me back to the central valley of California where we lived for years, as he shares a compelling account of the joys and sorrows of his family’s farming story over the generations. Even as winter approaches, the eloquence of this writing evokes the perfume and sweet flavors of the perfectly ripe peach, grown with love and a passion for living with absolute intention. Masumoto’s writing is an inspiration, and a reminder as we head into the season of introspection to honor the land and those who grow our food, both the farmers and the farm workers by supporting their continuing livelihood. As often as possible, eat food grown by someone you’d be proud to call friend.

To all my friends and family who have been so encouraging and supportive over the years, the moment has finally come! Season’s Gleanings is launched and my card designs will be available soon, with a bit luck  and a lot of help from friends.

Stay tuned!