My Work

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Doldrums of Winter

Oh, mid-winter, how thee tasks me!  We are in the midst of multiple weeks of sunshine and warm afternoon temperatures coupled with cold nighttimes.  Sitting inside a warm living room that has large south facing windows, one can feel, smell, almost taste spring.  That is, until venturing into the great outdoors.

Seed catalogs come daily, their gaily printed offerings in the twelve colors of enchantment, demanding we think of planting, digging, irrigating, spreading, and, ah yes, harvesting those delights offered.  And, we must remember, it was sixteen degrees at five thirty this morning.

A mid-winter tease, a siren to entice us into gardening defeat, disaster, disgust.  Grasp the handles on the roto-tiller too early in the morning and leave part of your skin behind when it freezes solid.  Try to pick up that rake and find it is frozen to the ground.  And look behind the rose bush there, and find a patch of snow from a storm many weeks past.  Are the Summer doldrums as ferocious as these we currently endure?

Nay, I say, nay.  I have radishes growing strong inside those living room south facing windows, along with basil and some chili seeds, just planted.  Chili is slow to grow, and they will remain in their clay pots through the summer, blasting their capsaicin splendor into fine chili, stew, and salsa.  But, tomatoes?  No, not yet, I howl in discouragement, unless I plan to keep them inside the whole year. 

By the time the weather will allow for transplant, tomatoes would be high as an elephant’s eye, and that is reserved for the corn.  It too won’t see the light of day for some months.

Put in that new fence?  Sure, you think, then discover the ground three inches down is concrete and your puny efforts to make a hole are set aside for another day, another time.  Clean the corrals?  That’s a daily, and spread it along with seed into what might end up being some kind of pasture or at least an emerald plot come May.

Build something?  Frozen fingers and power tools are not to be considered.  Maybe put some kind of heating unit in the workshop?  Power bill is too high now, let’s not add to it.  Too early to prune, roses or trees, too early to turn the soil or plant, too early to venture into the nearby Sierra Nevada and cut a cord or two of wood for next winter.  What to do?

Sit in my rocker, a wood stove popping a lovely message just feet away, the sun streaming in those south facing windows, and a copy of a book I’ve been meaning to read.  While the Summer doldrums have their place in our lives, these of a Winter variety are fierce.  Well, a glass of wine, a warm house, and a good book.  Such is life in western Nevada, mid-winter.

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