It's slightly above freezing, the sun is shining, and a lovely little box from Vesey's seeds arrived a few days ago, full of seeds that rattled happily in their envelopes as they waited to be planted. So today myself, my sister B and good friend J sat at the table divvying up seeds (really, when one gets 100 corn seeds in a package, sharing them becomes a great way to keep costs down. And there's no way I'm going to plant 800 carrots) and thinking ahead to warm days and fresh veggies.
Of course it will lead to my annual internal debate: does one scold kids for eating before supper if what they've done is wandered through the garden and helped themselves to some sweet beans and peas, hanging from their little vines and looking oh-so-good? I don't think so. If they are going to snack and 'ruin their appetites' with veggies as fresh and clean as they come, I'm not going to complain. Last year R became an expert at making a walking salad - some beans here, a couple of chives to season it, a few lettuce leaves there, a tomato still warm from the sun... aaaaah. Vegetables never tasted so good.
Unfortunately, the slugs seem to agree with me and I don't want to find their slimy little trails across an otherwise picture-perfect tomato this year. Last year we made a few inroads when during the fall garden cleanup, the chickens had an outing and busily scratched around in the garden, little feathered rototillers digging and pouncing on any poor insect (ha! no pity from me) that strayed across their paths. Turning over the boards I'd used to keep growth down in the paths was like inviting the hens to a buffet as they walked up the boards picking off slugs as they went. And with all that walking and scratching and eating came ... ahem ... fertilizing. Chicken manure is apparently wonderful with plenty of nitrogen for plants, but so much so that it will burn them unless it's given some time to break down.
So today I find myself longing again for spring. Drip, drip, goes the ice. Wonder if winter is through with us just yet? Hmm.