Quiet Winter

Gold Bow 1web big

The landscaping and stonework business goes quiet during the winter months, and so, one might think, that I’d be blogging away, casting pearls of wisdom regarding garden planning, maintenance and all things horticultural. Sadly, no. One might even think that since this blog is about our homestead here in Killingworth, CT, that I’d be writing about food, art, projects, etc… Again, sadly, no. These Persephone months are those that generate the most anxiety and pressure for me, and, at the same time,provide the most promising block of time to do what I am trained and compelled and desirous to do ,to which is to make art. This is my only yearly chance to get into the studio and work on painting and design projects that have occupied my mind for months, if not years. I largely abandon cooking, cleaning, and most things related to homekeeping. Asides from the necessary activities of bringing in firewood and venturing forth through deep snow to help Andrew collect sap from Sugar Maples on the Welter Farm, a project that he is engaged in, my time is spent in my studio.  We do like to entertain but this is a rare occurrence during these winter months. And so, I extend my apologies to all who may have looked for gardening wisdom. I will say that this is the time to start many of the cole crops and onions as seedlings.  These are cool weather crops that benefit from an early start. Don’t be seduced into starting tomatoes too early. Let that go until late March; you’ll have healthier seedlings.

I’ll be posting some images and updates of what I’m doing in the studio very soon. Until then, be well, be safe, be inquisitive.



Seeds, Glorious Seeds!

Fedco seed packets

Hope .springs 2013

Just when winter was really beginning to drag down the old spirits, voila! A bundle of hope and promise, flavor and pleasure arrives. Firstly, the mind lunges at the checklist of the seed order, Provider Beans?, yes, check, Donkey Spinach?, yes, check, Raven Zucchini?, yes, check, etc…then to the planting plan…hmmm, we don’t have the most organized crop rotation schedule system going so this will take awhile. (It does, and will continue to do so). Then the mind, rather, my mind swings over to aesthetics…what plants will look the best next to other plants while still hewing to the not-yet-resolved and seriously flawed crop rotation schedule? Hmmm. Well, it doesn’t work, that train of thought, and it’s too bitter a reminder of why I didn’t go to law school and secure a comfortable future for myself, so, let’s move on to more positive things (skipping over the inevitable spraying schedule of pyrethrins  and spinosads to keep the damnable bugs at bay) and consider the delectable future harvest. Well, it’s still winter and so I still have time to create that 3-ring binder with tabs that identify the vegetable and associated recipes for them, don’t I? I’ve spent the last two or three winters poring over cookbooks with a list of the vegetables that we grow and have made a very useful, A to Z list of all things Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus,….Zucchini, etc… These are hand written on lists (something that I do during commercials while Andrew and I are watching TV) and identify the recipe and the cookbook/page it comes from.  This is an extremely sensible and handy tool that takes all the thinking and worry out of harvesting time, when one is so busy weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting the kitchen garden, while, at the same time, tending to twenty perennial borders, caring for flocks of chickens, turkeys, ducks and designing and installing gardens for clients. If only I applied it to our lives!

So, this year, I intend to actually put it into practice. Yes, of course, I vow to do this every year, but it just doesn’t ever actualize. The year 2013 will be different. Trust me! Miracles of planting and succession planting will occur. The planets will align and tomatoes and peppers and cilantro will all be abundant at the same time and gallons of salsa and pesto will be produced, canned and stored and will reward us with delectable pleasures and bonding moments with smiles of achievement as we dip our chips into our last year’s bounty watching re-runs of CSI in January 2014.

Let’s Go!