I sit here on the couch, having homemade beef vegetable soup with barley, for breakfast, crawling out of my skin. Since we have moved to Western PA, we have not had enough snow to use our sow shoes. I am very, very itchy to get my bike out, or to go for walks but the temps have been bitter. That is when my cabin fever gets a little high. It’s also when my gardening catalogs start coming in…and so I am dreaming of this years garden. I will be adding beds this year as well as designating a black raspberry patch. I also hope to add some fruiting shrubs to the yard. Right now I know where I can put an Elderberry bush, but other than that, I need to do some more planning. I don’t want to buy anything unless I know exactly where it is going. In the spring, I need to dig and move two Rose of Sharon trees and a Smoke tree. There is nothing like the autumn color of a Smoke tree. I would also like to get a couple Holly trees, two or three Tulip Poplar trees, maybe a Pecan, some Blueberry bushes and some fruiting bushes for the birds. Those may not happen until next year though. It’s very easy to let yourself get taken away with all the pretty pictures in the catalogs. I just want to add a few things each year. Rhubarb! That I definitely want to add this year. I’m just looking for the right type. I roughly have its location picked out. I am hoping that the garden is successful enough that I can fill a freezer and canning jar cupboard.
Last year, I started gardening again, after about 6 years of not having anywhere to grow anything, and we had fresh veggies from May until December. I hope to extend that this year with preserving, good planning and some indoor winter veggies in pots. Last year I grew a Butterhead lettuce that was outstanding, the best ever!! A friend is growing ‘gutter lettuce’, that is lettuce planted in rain gutters, in his dining room. As soon as I get my seeds, I am growing lettuce indoors. I also want to start sprouting this year, something I have never done. Something else new to me…organizing. Mark is trying to help me organize my seed schedule. I do want to do this because the garden, without organizing, fed us and our friends pretty darn well!! I think I can do better. I also didn’t preserve anything last year, and if I do this right, I should be able to can and freeze enough to never have to buy veggies again. Being self sufficient on ANY level is such a great feeling.
I am trying to encourage more people to garden, here in the city of Johnstown PA. I think it would be amazing if we could share or swap veggies, fertilizer or even meat, eggs, honey…..whatever you have in abundance, for that foodstuff that you don’t have. I think it would build a stronger sense of community and maybe even help others feel more self sufficient. And wouldn’t it be the greatest thing, that if at the end of the season, or maybe even a couple times through the growing season, each garden could donate, as a group, some of their harvest to a food bank? What’s your thought? In the meantime, I look out at my yard and dream of seeds.
For awhile now…months, years, I have been feeling very restless and without direction. I have been feeling scattered, overwhelmed, and so I, in the fall, decided to go through my ‘stuff’, to take an ‘inventory’ of my life, spiritually and mundanely. So I had to do some inner searching and to re-look at what I want out of my life. I realized I was off track and making excuses, or filling my days with things that were not pushing me forward. So I am now going through my life and removing those things that keep me stuck or distracted. I still get distracted, and need to pay attention, but I am thinning things out, giving away or selling those things that distract me. This will be a long process, I hope not longer than a year, but it will have to be as long as it needs to be. I just need to remember to be present, diligent and honest with myself, as well as kind and without judgement. Easier said than done, but its a process, and it changes as I go through it. For any of you out there going through this, I wish you a smooth process, and would love to chat with you about your experiences….