Snow, Seeds And Social Distancing
March 25, 2020
Living well beyond the Middle of Nowhere has some advantages over living in town, especially these days. Keeping your distance socially is much easier when your nearest neighbor is almost a mile away! I can go outside without worrying about accidentally getting within six feet of anyone. We're also used to keeping our larder and pantries well stocked. The threat of a winter storm keeping you housebound longer than you'd care to be is a great incentive. (I know it's officially spring by the calendar, but my yard is still locked into winter. The snow depth ranges from inches to feet. None of the ground in the garden can be seen yet.)
These sunshiney days are very welcome. That blanket of snow is beginning to shrink down upon itself. Next to the driveway and mailbox, patches of actual ground are showing up. Also showing up is the multitude of tree branches that broke off under the weight of the heavy frosts we experienced this winter. I've picked up those that were fully exposed. There will be many more days of that job to come. I'm tearing off the side shoots and breaking down the larger branches to toss onto the driveway. I think they'll work like gravel as the mud emerges. The really large limbs will need to be chopped into smaller, easier to handle sections. I'm thinking a battery-operated chain saw should be my next large purchase. Forget the food processor. I can manage with the kitchen gadgets I already own.
Another of my outside solitary pursuits right now is chopping down the ice buildup that has the walk-in door to the garage frozen shut. It's a good thing we keep one of the remote openers inside the house. The snow that builds up on the sloped roof tends to melt on these sunny days. There's no gutter on the garage, so the melting snow slides off, landing along the sides and in front of that walk in door. The accumulation of ice is six to eight inches deep against the walk in door, so chipping away at it takes a lot of effort and time. It isn't so thick farther away, so sprinkling snow melt is effective there. The easiest fix would be to install a gutter along that side of the garage, wouldn't it? But we don't think of it during our busy summer months.
I have finally started combing through my seed catalogs. Funny what sunny days will do, huh? I'm trying to be methodical about it. Lists of the staples I plant every year (beans, beets, carrots, corn, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, squash, Swiss chard) as well as items I want to try (celeriac, eggplant, melons, arugula, climbing roses) are being made. Lists of the items and prices are compiled from three catalogs (two to go) so I can compare prices and decide what I might order and from whom. If I go as I usually do, I'll end up purchasing the bulk of my seeds locally. But I can order those unusual things I really want to give a try.
Of course, I plan to hit the local greenhouses for tomatoes, peppers, and flowers, provided we feel we can release ourselves from our (self-imposed?) quarantine in time. I feel like no one can foresee this continuing indefinitely, but the Spanish flu ran through the world for quite a while, as did the bubonic plague way back when. We are more advanced both scientifically and medically. There are better treatments available for those who do become ill. Science will develop a vaccine, but it takes time. In the meantime, avoid contact with those you aren't living with, and wash your hands often and thoroughly.
I don't have any recipes to share this week. I've not been experimenting in the kitchen lately, but have been sticking with the tried and true meals we find comfort in. Right now I have a loaf of whole wheat bread in the oven, and a couple more loads of laundry to finish. Maybe the vacuum will find its way out of the closet? And maybe I'll just try a few new hobby ideas I've gleaned from Pinterest...