Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Frozen Doggy Bits and The Best Laid Garden Plans

Saturday was a real snow day.  We didn't work at the farm or visit with anyone, I didn't leave the house at all.  I did venture outside a few times to admire the snow, and admire my animals in the snow.  Watching Puck trudge through the snow always makes me laugh and remember an old friend of mine, who, after watching Puck waddle around in snow up to his belly, commented that he really felt sorry for my dog.  Why, I wanted to know, because to me he looked pretty adorable, like a mini snow plow.  My friend, who is a man, just gave me a funny look and said "Rain, think about a boy dog's anatomy.  His legs are so short, It's dragging in the snow!"  And then he shuddered.  Ha!  I guess men do have a different perspective about some things.  Puck does look a little uncomfortable in the picture, doesn't he.  

I don't feel too sorry for the dog since his discomfort is temporary, and he spent most of the snow day snoozing on his fancy pillow keeping all his critical parts warm.  The chickens, however, get all my sympathy.  Can you imagine walking through the snow on bare feet?  I can tell their feet are cold because they mostly stand on one leg at a time, like they are trying to thaw one out by sticking it in their belly feathers. I've looked closely at their feet, and they don't seem to be suffering any damage, but it pains me to think about standing on ice and snow without shoes.  I doubt they would thank me if I tried to fashion shoes for them though.  I wonder...

I've come to realize that one of the best times of year for enjoying the garden is a snowy winter day.   It's so enjoyable because right now, before a single seed has been planted, my garden is perfect (in my mind), and I don't allow my imagination to include droughts, hungry raccoon, deer, bugs, neglect, weeds, or rogue lawn mowers.  No, the 2014 garden has been dreamed up and planned out, on paper even, and all I have to do is follow my carefully laid plans, right?  I have the seeds. I have the seed packages labeled with the planting dates, and organized. I even have the fence designed, and boy is it a beauty. I have the garden layout planned, which includes spring, summer, and fall crop rotation, as well as companion planing.  Too ambitious for someone starting a new garden, who also has a house to build and job that requires lots of summer travel?  Nah, I'm not afraid.  I've even thought so far ahead that I have my mental root cellar stocked and my non-existent pantry lined with sparkling jars of healthy foods.  Right now, at this moment, I truly feel that nothing can go wrong because I have spent an entire snow day making A Plan.  See what I mean, the January garden is an inspiration, and I didn't even have to change out of my pajamas.     

A friend of mine asked me what I planned to grow from seed this year.  Since I had my list of seeds all written out, it was easy to count.  Forty-one different kinds of plants?!  Yikes!  I give myself permission to fail - so full steam ahead.  With this variety of seedlings in mind, I have decided to try to raise the bar on my seedling labeling system.  In years past I used wooden popsicle sticks, which absorb water and get dark, making it hard to see the letters.  I've also just labeled my newspaper cup, but it tends to get soggy and also hard to see.  So this year I'm going to try labels made from strips of plastic from things like milk jugs.  So exciting!

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