The seed catalogs are starting to arrive in the mail! Always a sign of spring approaching. The temperature has dropped to about -15 this week, but there's only a dusting of snow, I heard a chickadee yesterday, and it's possible to imagine summer again.
We are planning to travel a bit this year, so I have to think about what to plant that will be able to basically babysit itself while we're away. The kids will be here taking care of the dogs, but I don't want them to have to do intensive farming in my absence. If I'm wise I'll avoid things that have to be harvested daily, such as green beans, or things that will ripen in the weeks we're gone, such as zucchini. And yet I look at the planting suggestions for some horseshoe-shaped beds I want to try, and I can't help myself. I know I'll break down and start cramming in everything I love, the way I always end up doing every year.
I also like to try new things every year, and this time I think it might be okra. A relative of hibiscus, they have lovely flowers that look like flamenco dancers' skirts. If you dehydrate them, they lose that slimy feeling people object to, and you can snack on them with a little salt. Even if I donate the okra to the food bank and just grow them for their flowers, they're still a lovely idea.
I also want to splurge on some space-saving columnar apple trees to plant on the north side of the garden. Other than blueberries and strawberries, I don't have fruit growing in the garden, and I'd like to do a few more things along permaculture principles.
I was talking to my boss today about travel plans for the summer, and she suggested we time it so that we hit New Brunswick in September, when the colours are at their best. Which sounds reasonable. Except that's the time the harvest is coming along thick and fast. When I told her the reason for my reluctance, she gave me a weird look, and I felt just how odd I probably am, out of step with everyone around me. Doesn't everyone schedule their vacations around tomato-bottling season? Isn't everyone in sync with the temperature and weather and phases of the moon? So I just mumbled something about school being back on by September and left it at that. (Which is still a good argument against travelling then; my son wouldn't be able to let the dogs out if he's at college.)
I like that my rhythms and activities interplay with the earth's. I like watching the sky for signs of pending rain. I like feeling I'm not just interacting with nature but that I'm part of it.