Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year

It's the most wonderful time

It's the hap-happiest season

It's the most wonderful time
It's the hap-happiest season of all
It's the most wonderful time of the year
                                      -Andy Williams

Anyone who knows me at all knows me well enough to know that Wintertime is NOT my favorite time of the year.  However, when I heard this song over and over in the whole pre-Christmas line-up, I couldn’t help but hum along and smile. Kinda made me wonder about my sanity!


I don’t dislike winter just because the layers of longjohns and jeans and coveralls and shirts and sweaters and jackets and socks and boots and gloves and hats make me feel (and look) like the Michelin man. 
I don't know how someone got this pic of ME...
planting in the hoophouse! 

Since our work demands an outdoor presence, we can’t just wait until it’s warmer and we can wear cute clothes.
It’s not the fact that any precipitation makes mud, mud and more mud or ice, ice and more ice. If we aren’t slopping through the mud, we are chipping ice off the water tubs and hauling buckets because the hydrants and/or hoses are frozen.  It’s not just that the animals are ALWAYS hungry, pathetic and complaining. That means if we aren’t hauling water, we’re hauling hay and/or feed. The cold and ice cause things to break down and repair work becomes part of our routine as well.  While I really don’t like the dark and gloomy weather and the short days that make up the winter either, there is not a single source of my complaints.  It’s the cumulative effect of the demands of winter farming that cause me to look start looking forward to Spring with the first snowfall.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the cold, the added layers of clothing, the extra work and the difficulty in overcoming the urge to sleep; there are some nice things about the winter.  The brilliant blue of the sky and the pristine snow make for beautiful photos.  The ewes are much more personable in the Winter (yeah, I realize they just want more food, but...). The warmth of the hoophouses and greenhouses are welcome respites from the biting wind. ...and our customer-friends really love when we bring fresh greens to town. (yeah, I's the food thing again)

But, the absolute best thing about Winter has to be the arrival of the seed catalogs!

Years ago, a friend insisted that the best marketing move EVER was the idea of sending seed catalogs out in the dead of winter.  “This is brilliant!”  he exclaimed.  “Think about’s dull, it’s grey, we’re bored...what better time to see these gorgeous vegetables and flowers!? They certainly know what they’re doing.  Of course we’ll buy more. It makes us feel closer to Spring!
J  ...and by February, we have all forgotten about the weeds and the heat and the bugs...”  He was right, of course.

Hope springs eternal in the garden.

While things have changed dramatically over the years, seed catalogs start arriving right after Thanksgiving....and as a professional/commercial grower, you never stop seeding/planting/harvesting... there is just something about a seed catalog in the Winter...

So, we spend a little quality time in front of the woodstove, seed catalog in one hand, hot coffee/chocolate/tea/chai in the other, thinking over the garden of the future.  It’s so easy to envision our weed-free, highly productive, bug-less garden while there is snow on the ground.  We don’t have to think about being dirty and sweaty and tired. 

Everything in our “dream garden” is successful...and we never run out of daylight or energy...all the plants grow true to the seed catalog copy...we have room for all those exotic things we have always wanted to try...and bugs and disease never put in an appearance....

...that makes it the most wonderful time of the year. 

Reality is a close second, with the hope and anticipation that goes with seeding time, the sense of accomplishment that goes with harvest and the great meals of summer.


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