I’m skipping over quite a bit, chicks in the kitchen, dog drooling over the brooder, coop building (yes, the friends helped), a few chick casualties, eggs(!) and then winter.
I’ve lived in New England all my life. I know winter is snowy and beautiful, I even look forward to it, the sledding and the soup and hot baths and hibernating. But it’s also mind-numbingly cold, dark and sometimes downright depressing. So I prepared this year. I resolved to be lazy, self-indulgent and enjoy creature comforts, which for me involves mashed potatoes, chocolate, coffee, tea and tons of naps. That part is easy. The hard part is having faith that come spring the return of sunlight will bring with it energy, and the ability to get tons done in half the time. I’m having a hard time remembering a day that I didn’t require a long bath, chocolate cake, a nap or all three.
But here’s the thing. We hosted our family Thanksgiving last year. And my Uncle, who has been successful gardener for years, got talking to me about my chickens (not difficult) and the coop and the run and the garden. Turns out, my Uncle raised chickens, broilers, as his summer job when he was a boy. So it was great fun to give him the short tour of the nano farm. We discussed a few upgrades to my chicken’s run space, and the advantages of raised beds, and these cool compost bins that he’s recently made out of lobster wire, and boom–I resolved that 2013 would be the year of the raised beds.
And then during my hermit/hibernation I discovered Rosemary and Thyme, a decade old BBC mystery series that I thought would half-pay attention to while working at night. Ah, I thought, a British two woman Murder She Wrote. Perfect background. The premise is ridiculous, of course–a landscaping team that stumbles upon a murder mystery at every job–but thoroughly enjoyable. And the two principal actors, fantastic, but what got me hooked were the gardens. Every episode featured a languishing piece of land at a beautiful property that needed a makeover (and a murderer caught). None of the episodes took place during the winter. When I was done with all three seasons I had new life goals. I wanted to tour beautiful gardens. I wanted to buy a Land Rover. I wanted to become a landscape architect.
From here I dove into a full on blog roll of gardening podcasts and websites and an overhaul of my personal library. And so many trips to my local Farmer’s Coop that I may need to get a job there to support my new habit. It almost makes me tired to recount how many blogs, books, magazines, podcasts and sketches I have crammed into my brain while hibernating. I’m crazy itchy for spring. Now that it’s almost here I’m calculating the days until I can put in an order for soil for my raised beds.
But before I can put in the order, I have to give winter a bit of a nod. I must admit that maddening winter has been good to me. And now I’m ready to take on a bit of building and digging and playing in the mud, an attempt at the half acre makeover.