Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fun in the North Dakota Winter

So who ever said that a North Dakota winter can be boring?  This is a picture of what Barry and I spent some of our Saturday doing.  The weather, even though the weather reporters were talking of another doozy of a blizzard, was actually perfect.  We had about 3 inches of very wet snow that came down slowly and silently blanketing everything in the most perfect white followed by a balmy 32 degrees, and no wind!  What a time to head outside and enjoy the wonder of snow.  There is no age limit on making snowmen right?

The other thing I was able to do was get a handle on my reading.  The stack of magazines and newspapers has slowly risen to mammoth proportions so I spent Saturday morning, while Barry was running mail and moving snow, catching up on the reading pile and wrangling it down to just three issues of Farmers Market Today. 

While reading through the mags I found an article about ordering seed.  The article, in Growing For Market magazine, talked about storing seed, inventorying seed, ordering seed and keeping records.  In it, the writer gave a list of common seeds and how long they can or should be stored.  The article cited Parsley as a use it one year and then toss the rest - not viable after the first year.  Since I knew that we had just completed our own seed inventory and our Parsley seed was several years old the writers opinion surprised and scared me.  We have successfully planted Parsley seed that was two and even three years old.  However, facing the possibility that this could be the last year for our 2006 seed, I did  put together a germination test.  Parsley takes a LONG time to germinate.  We direct seed into the field as early as we can each year with the Parsley being the first in the ground of our herbs.  We've also planted it in the fall just to avoid problems with wet springs where we can't get in early to seed.  To do a germination test you can wrap some of your seed in a moist paper towl and put them in a plastic bag in a location that is about the same as the ground or outdoor temperture will be.  Check them daily - not only to add water if they need it but also to get some air exchange in the bag.  Keep checking for small roots on the seeds or signs that they have sprouted.  If none sprout, get new seed.  If half sprout, you'll either have to overseed or get new seed.  If all or most of them sprout you are most likely OK to put them in the ground.  It's always a good idea to run a germination test on older seed.  It's so much better to know than to worry once spring arrives and then possibly have to send in an emergency order for more seed after you have lost valuable growing time. 

For now - I'm just watching my little babies and hoping they sprout.  If not, I'll just add Parsley to the seed order and things will all be on time come April.

Hope you are enjoying the snow the way Barry and I are - stay safe and be patient.  Spring is coming!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

When Earth and Water Don't Mix

I'm not big on astrology.  I believe that the horoscopes in the local newspaper are just a hotdish of obtuse phrases combined with a dash of generality that can be interpreted into anyone's dish of life.  However, that said; I do think that your astrological sign and related birth signs can be a general guide to your personality.  There's too many people that 'fit' the assigned personality traits of their astrological guides to call it coincidence.

Take our family for instance.  I am an Earth sign.  Makes sense with my love for the Earth and passion for gardening.  I also fit my astrological natal chart personality traits to a "T".  Like it or not, I can be materialistic and I am very business-like, planning and community oriented.  I know my downfalls and being too empathetic is not one of them.

My son, Boy as we call him, is a water sign, all ruled by emotion, intuitive, in it for the long haul, wanting to build, tear down, and rebuild to suit rather than going with a pre-determined plan for success.

My poor husband, the fire sign in the family is very externally motivated.  His goal is to fit in, make others happy and go with the flow.  You might now see where this leading...

The reason for this post began a couple days ago when Boy and I were emailing.  He's beginning the final leg of his college journey and will graduate this spring with his second degree.  He'll be entering the full time career workforce soon (again) and as a Mom and a "P" word person - planning that is - I of course wanted his landing spot to be within a reasonable driving distance from his beloved parents whom he can't live without (smile here folks) and of course in a place where he would be happily and gainfully employed with a quality of life far exceeding his parents. 

Well, taking into account that he IS a water sign, compared to my Earth sign and the fact that he is of generation Y, you can imagine his reaction to my suggestion he look into a job I recommended.  He had other more immediate things on his mind, like finishing his current schooling, working as much as he can at his current job so he can pay his bills, and how to communicate with a new friend in his life.  He did manage to tell me thank you for the thought - which was thoughtful.  Earth and Water make mud. 

So now comes the moral of the gardening story.  Mud isn't all bad.  Gardeners recognize that the mud is a sign that new life will soon spring into their gardens.  The moisture works with the Earth to bring nutrients and hydration to the roots of the plants causing new growth and blossoms.  Mud is a great place for butterflies and small birds to drink, toads and frogs to wallow and worms to bathe.  If you're a kid, mud is great for pies and moguls for toy cars and trucks.  Mud can be fun - mud wrestling, mud racing, and if you're a generation X or Y person MUD can be a multi-user-dungeon game.  (Boy - See how hip your Mom really can be?)

For now, I guess I'll learn to live with the mud in my life and just like in my garden, to be thankful for the water that rejuevenates me.  I'll try to remember what Earth would be like without water and rejoice in the fact that I have water in my life to keep me refreshed and growing, able to sustain the hard times.  And, to be ever grateful for the Fire in my life - who just wants to go with the flow and keep the Queen happy - afterall, he does have to live with this Earth!