Winter is still very much present in these parts, mostly in the form of wet grey damp with splashes of sun and clear blue sky, but as you can see from FDPG's almanac chart, the dark winter mornings are slowly but surely coming to an end.
See that line dropping? That's the sunrise time getting earlier and earlier. Thrilling, this news is. (I know I sound like Yoda, but after this winter I feel like Yoda: shrivelled and slightly green with mildew)
And of course, as it my wont, when the weather starts looking up, I start rearranging my seed collection. There is nothing like sorting through one's seeds, not to mention accumulating free How To sheets from the garden centres to get one in the mood for spring. It's all so darn exciting:
Mescluns: Nicoise Blend! How to prune grapes (Ooh! must make a grape arbour in the front yard! Need new cedar posts!) Amazon Jewel nasturtiums! Time to prune the apple trees! Dukat Leafy Dill! Martian Giant tomatoes! Watermelon radishes! Romeo carrots! Hypertufa! Mortgage Lifter tomatoes! Potimarron squash! Parnsips! (huh? is that really a typo on the packet? why yes, it IS) FDPG wants to try a container garden for 4-H! Must dig up more lawn and make a trellis, the containers would look amazing with that in the background! Dominic wants to do worm composting for 4-H! Need worms...?
And so on and so on. I know, I sound insane. Call it spring fever. It doesn't help that my local garden centre likes to sell new seeds at 25% off all through January, either.
Can. Not. Resist. Must. Have. More. Seeds.
One of the more productive things I've done this month has been to go over my canning and preserving activities, to see how useful everything was in the long run. Did we actually USE all those canned hot peppers, or would I do better to dry more and grind them into powder? Do I need to expand the rhubarb bed? Do we need MORE strawberry jam or should I freeze a few more bags instead of turning them into jam? What jams did we use most?
Here's something I'm glad I tried: apple jelly. Some apples just don't keep well; our Macintosh apple is one of them, so when they were in dire need of intervention I decided to juice them (as opposed to composting them) and turned the juice into jelly.
And what jelly it is. I'd like to wax eloquent, but instead I'll content myself with a couple of highly tormenting images, so you can imagine the taste all on your own.