Wednesday, February 12, 2014

37 Days Til Spring

That's what the calendar says, anyway. Many years we have already got our lettuce in the ground by now, along with onions and radishes. To do that this year, we'd need an ice pick.With temperatures hovering between single digits and freezing, this is no weather for outdoor gardening.

So when I saw freesias marked down in the florist department while grocery shopping, I couldn't resist. Their bright pink blooms remind me that spring will surely come and our gardens once again filled with blossoms. It is a little difficult to imagine green buds on trees, soft green grass and seeds sprouting when we've been covered with ice and snow pretty much since mid-December.

I am not complaining; I like winter. 

I like the stark beauty of it, the outlines of hills covered in snow, trees stretching gray branches into snowy skies, icicles dangling from eaves and rock ledges. Some mornings the air is filled with sparkling ice crystals that glitter like miniature diamonds in the early sun. I like the crunch of dry, frozen snow under the truck tires signifying that this is not the kind of snow one will slip and slide on. I like brilliant red-orange sunsets that turn the snow fairy-pink. I don't even mind the cold temperatures, as long as I am prepared for them.

This is not an airtight house. There are cracks and holes where the cold seeps in. The kitchen cabinets could double as a refrigerator, I swear, and the bathroom--well, that toilet seat can feel like a ring of ice. My feet are cold much of the time, a legacy from the time I froze them blue-solid when I was eleven or twelve. Wool socks made by my friends Betsy Bybell and Kate Dudding and my sister Judy are the only things that help--that and a heating pad at the bottom of the bed.

When it's this cold, I find other ways to warm the house--the main choices being cooking and baking. Today I am canning dried beans to replenish our stock. Larry loves pinto beans, black beans, limas, navy beans--any kind of dried bean actually. I don't care much for them but I will eat them occasionally. and since they are a good source of protein and eaten judicially not too hard on his diabetes, they make a good lunch for Larry. I love garbanzos (chickpeas) so I can them too, in little half-pints that are the perfect size for using in salads and many recipes.

This day is one of those gray, dull days when the sun hides behind the clouds and 32 feels like 15 degrees. The dogs don't want to stay out long, and I can't blame them. But I look at the calendar and I know winter cannot stay much longer and that in a few short weeks we'll start seeing peeps of green emerge from the frost-heaved flowerbeds. I can out-wait Old Man Winter. And in the meantime, I will enjoy the snow while it is here, the flocks of birds at the feeders and the wintry landscapes.

I can wait--as long as these good wool socks don't wear out, anyway.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Nance said...

I'm with Larry. I love beans. All colors. I make Taco soup, Cabbage Soup and SW Chicken soup and freeze them up in 1 cup portions in glass jars. I'm weird about freezing in plastic. My feet, unlike yours, can't abide socks. I frost 'bit' my cheeks as a kid but not my feet. I come home from work and kick off those dreaded dress socks. No thank you to the wool

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Maybe you already know this - that beans mixed with slow cooking rice is a complete protein. I add long grain and wild rice to chili - makes a good higher protein meal than just eating the beans alone. White instant rice doesn't give you any help in this - needs to be whole grain rice, slow cooked. Hope your winter eases up some.


Excellent post. You talk positively about winter and I like to hear that. We both know that it is part of mother nature' s gift to the soil and the the plants to come. thanks for a good word about winter -- barbara

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