Thursday, January 24, 2008

Seed Ordering Time

The black and white illustrated and well documented catalog came back in December, but for the last week it has been weighing on my mind. Last year by the time I got around to ordering seeds, they had run out of some of my top tomato choices, and I had to settle for unknown varieties and old seed. This year, I wanted to be on top of it, but the days have been ticking away with this and that necessary-thing-to-do taking up time that crowded seeds to the edges. But today was the day.

I made it all the way through the catalog, reading descriptions and pondering ounces and pounds, as light snow swirled around outside my window. David got home, and after we shared supper and the news of the day, there was time to sit on the couch and go over the list together. We imagined perhaps a plot of squash and pumpkins planted in a sunny field at camp. We discussed the possibility of a tall fence for some pole beans and Green Arrow peas. Would fencing the edge of the garden with them, just provide head high snacks for the neighborhood deer, or would it deter them? When the talking was done, he had added one more variety of beans and upped the amounts on a couple of items. Not too bad. The ordering was done simply online and then I received notification that my order had been received and would be filled. A sweet smile of satisfaction came on me. Forty six items - seeds, some so small they can barely be seen, some larger, but all with that mysterious promise of a green plant going somewhere or doing something - moving toward plumpness, sweetness, greenness, ripeness, nourishing goodness.

We all are but seeds- interesting, but useless if we do not let ourselves be taken into the dark soil of God's bosom to be sprouted. But oh, when we do, there is all sorts of sunshine and showers and surging growth that awaits us. Plumpness, sweetness, and nourishing goodness are sure to come at the end of the long summer.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January is a good time to start a blog whose postings may end up looking a good bit like swiss cheese come August. Now is a time of much darkness still, though the earth is beginning its' slow swing towards the sun. David and I rise at 4:45 am, when it is inky black, and by 5:30 we are prepared to walk the 3 mile loop around our hill. By the time we are topping the last rise, there is color in the sky, and the trees are in silhouette, and gravity pulls us easily down and through the landscape that reminds us so much of a Maxwell Parrish painting.

As I fix breakfast the first light is coming on the trees behind the pond behind our home. I treasure the sunshine rays here in St. Johnsbury, sometimes walking across the island of trees that separates our side of the hill from our neighbors, and up to the highest point where the sun hits last in the day. By 4:30 pm, darkness is falling again.

I do not mind the darkness really. I could very easily pretend that I am a small four footed creature that is hibernating, and fill my time with reading and cooking, writing and sewing. It is quite appealing to live a quiet life that darkness seems to invite one to. It should be a quiet time, I believe, and life is out of kilter when even the dark northern winter minutes are milked for every moment of productivity, and the day's work extends far out of the edges of day into the regions of the night.

There are things happening day and night out there. It is easy to follow in the soft layer of snowflakes laid down almost every day. One deer has died on the far side of the pond where the cattails grow and go to seed. Our dog, Oscar has found the remains and is begging now daily to be allowed to go get a bone. Finally I had to see what was left after he urpped a large column of hair on the kitchen floor the other morning. He took me there, but I could have made it there without him, the animal pathways being unmistakable. Where he waded through a 4 foot stream, I forded it on a log. Not far at all around the curve of the pond, coyotes have picked the carcass clean. The raven have been fed as well, and there are partridge wing prints left neatly in one place. I can only assume it was startled by an animal making its' way to a meal.

A turkey has died too. Oscar has stuffed his remains across the road, under an alder root in the swamp - and none too subtly either. He came back with his white face, black and wet. There is indeed death in the night, but I remember that this is owl mating time, and we saw a cute little ermine coming out of a neighbor's hen house in broad daylight. He was not worried about us really, but popped into the garage, then out the corner and looking over his shoulder at us, loped away. Slender and white with black only on the very tip of his tail. How creatures survive the cold leads me again to believe that out beyond the stars there is Someone who is all wisdom. There will be stars tomorrow morning because it is cold tonight. I better get to bed soon so I can see them.