February 06, 2016

SLICE - A Cure for the Winter Woes

I feel it, don’t  you?  It’s that time of the year on our beloved Palouse when those winter blahs are creeping on tiptoes, tapping on my shoulders and mumbling, “eh, eh, eh.”  The mid-winter slump is here, ready to take root and blossom if I don’t do something to remind myself that the sun will come out tomorrow and the sporadic bouts of slush and yuck will melt away once and for all.

Thankfully, when I feel this weary-dreary sense of ho-hum winter malaise coming my way I have the perfect remedy. It’s found in my mailbox and outside my kitchen window.  Almost every day the postal carrier brings me seed catalog after seed catalog. And the view from my kitchen window is of two beautiful raised beds my dear husband made for me last spring.  Be still my gardening heart!
Who can resist the pull of the soil whispering, “I’m here, I’m here, beneath the snow, under the slush, patiently waiting for your time, attention, hoe and seeds.”  Not me, I assure you.  Seeds, seeds, seeds.   So many seeds with only so much space.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

In our garden there are always the must-have-no-question-stand-bys that include tomatoes, kale, spinach, peppers and a variety of cut flowers.  And then, decisions must be made so new and exciting foods and flowers can make it to our table come summer.  How do I choose from a plethora of tempting heirloom choices, each with its accompanying siren song name?  Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, Apple Green Eggplant, White Stem Bok Choy, Purple Vienna kohlrabi, Chioggia beet, Fantasia Orange Swiss Chard, Black Velvet Nasturtium, Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory.  The list goes on and on.  The challenge is in the choosing.  The reward is in the planting and reaping, so choose I must and choose I will.

Ahh, I can already feel the niggling of winter woes starting to shed. My heart is filling and my hands are itching to get my orders placed and be out there in the soil. It can’t come soon enough.  But since I cannot delude myself into thinking I have any control of the seasons or weather, I remain content to do what I can - pour through the pages of every catalog, sketch out my two bed plots and of course, make a beeline to the gardening books at the library.  And that means I’m right back to choices and decisions. What a wonderful thing for me … and for you!  Whether you’re a seasoned soil digger or a newbie to the farm to table hands-in the-dirt movement, the library can help in a variety of ways.  From gardening books to magazines to DVDs and more – they’re each waiting to be checked out and put to delicious and beautiful use.

So, here’s to the last month (or so) of winter and the beginning of spring on our beloved Palouse.  Goodbye snow, slush, mush and cold temps. Hello to sunshine, warm rain, sprouting seedlings and a full heart of gardening joy!
Kathleen Ahern
Children's Librarian

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