January 18, 2010


The sun is wending its way back north, days getting visibly longer now.  In this neighborhood, though, sunrise is getting later each morning as there are a couple of mountains in the way.  Once the sun crests Black, things will speed up and then slow, and then--post Clifty---whoom! the days will get a lot longer, fast.  Today there is a generally pearly effect through the mist; we've had snow and rain and snow and RAIN...and snow.  Typical north Idaho weather...for a month hence.  I'm not missing the plowing and shoveling festival that January usually brings (and we may yet have it) but I am beginning to be concerned about water for spring.  My fields are sub-irrigated, and if there isn't so much melt in the summer to last into fall.... well, no sense borrowing trouble.  I've heard the Chickadees singing several mornings now, spring is coming...

Today on the soaping menu: a half gallon of sweet-grass infused olive oil, three quarts of citrus infused oils (lime, tangerine and blood orange), a block of shea butter, and a box of new essential oils to sample.  Last year's Lavender essential oil shortage has spurred me to research a few new types--and there are many more now available than there used to be!--so the next month will be filled with soapy research.  The fruit from the citrus became juice, and mayonnaise, and muffins, and bread, and today will probably appear in a pudding.

I'm drying more peel for use later in cooking and in soap as well--the food processor, cheapest model available though it was, makes short work of the peel and makes it far more even than I can ever manage chopping or zesting by hand.

Seeds starting, cuttings taking, catalog scribbling, all going on in the background...

Saturday I went to the first meeting of a new seed saving group, we have a short growing season here and there are many cold pockets reaching over to the Yaak, where their season is comparable to mine (sometimes as short as 70 days if Mother Nature is in a hurry) and I have some drying beans to try, plus some new herbs. 

Blooming today: Ms. Rosemary, salvia coccinea, a rogue pulsatilla, the grape sage...all on the back porch. 

Recommended reading: Seed to Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth.

January 8, 2010

Sky Blue Pink: Winter for Spring

It's cold and clear, and while the plants are dormant, things are quietly going on in the background... seed ordering & seed starting, catalog editing, plans for new offerings for spring.  Spring.  A funny word it sounds, tonight at around zero.  But nevertheless, it will come.  It will be good to have time this year for my own vegetable garden, something I had to let go of last year while I cared for Mom, there just wasn't time to tend that too.  I missed having beans especially, the test tomatoes I grew provided all the fresh tomatoes I needed, luckily (and I will be adding some of them at the market this year to the other heirloom & perennial vegetables.)I am also planting a bit more of a flower garden just for me, some of the nostalgic things I learned to love as a child and a young gardener... Bachelors' Buttons, Forget Me Nots, Nigella, and the fragrant things I always love to go along with the other cutting flowers.  One of my earliest pleasures was getting to cut flowers for a vase by my bed, almost always something fragrant... if I close my eyes I can still smell those pinks.