Monday, February 04, 2013

February Funk

I’ve had it in the back of my mind that I needed to get blogging more lately and last week I had a meeting with someone and she said “Oh, I read your blog”.  I guess that spurred me into the realization that I don’t just do this to waste a little time on my typing skills and have a few moments of retrospect, there really are people out there who read our blog. 

So here I am, in the middle of the February Funk trying to think of something upbeat and exciting to write about gardendwellers FARM.  We do have little rosemary seeds in their trays and we’re anxiously awaiting some form of life to show itself but even this puts us in a little funk as usually we have been getting our rosemary as plugs and this year it seems our ‘supplier cannot provide them’.  We have had some of the best looking rosemary from plugs and when we’ve tried seed in the past we have had nowhere near the same quality. 

Planning for this upcoming year has been fun as we are adding lemon balm back into the mix.  After years of growing it and having no one buy it – last year we actually had requests so back into the rotation it goes.  We ordered a few more fruit trees for the orchard and we’ll be trialing some basil and cilantro seeds for Prairie Road Organic Seed Company  this summer and we’re excited about that as well.  The new labels with the new farm address have been ordered and should be here soon and Barry is going to MN later this month and will bring back a load of containers for the grocery store herbs. 
All of this garden fun aside, its been hell here the last few weeks.  Winter has really gotten into our bones and the February Funk seems to be here to stay for a little while.  Sixty below wind chills recently shredded the high tunnel of a fellow producer in Antler, ND so we know all too well what wind and extreme cold does to plastic and every day I watch the high tunnel and hold my breath. 

 Another plastic that has me in the doldrums is my mittens.  Let me explain.

I’ve had this great pair of mittens my best friend made me over 15 years ago.  I use them every day.  They are warm and snug,  just the right size and comfortable.  In this very cold spell we’ve been having its typical for us to gather in the shop around the wood stove in between doing chores outside.  I had been out for an extra-long time with the barn dog and my hands and mittens were really cold.  I took them off and without thinking laid them on the wood stove.  You guessed it – they immediately melted.  Yes folks, its true, fleece is made out of recycled milk cartons and plastic.  Now my favorite mittens are stiff, hard and mostly bare of any material that would keep me warm.
  I know I could go upstairs and just pick out one of the many pairs of wool mittens I have made in the past and keep in the cupboard for just such an occasion but I’m sure that part of what kept me warm in my favorite mittens was the love sewn in by my best friend. 
The electric bill came the other day and put Barry into spasms.  Following the spasms came the mad dash around the house to turn off everything electric that wasn’t absolutely necessary and the scramble to add more layers of clothes as he turned down the heat.   I kept my office door shut so he wouldn’t notice under the desk. 

The cold winter has brought extra pounds on our bodies, short tempers and low spirits. 

We’ve been doing the best we can to get outside even in the wind and snow and forty below.  Of course we have the new barn dog and that makes trips outside necessary at least every four hours during the day.  Poor baby.  Her outings have been much briefer than she would prefer due to the cold.  She LOVES the snow.  She was built for it, stocky and thick with a heavy coat that keeps out all kinds of cold and sheds the snow like crazy. 
She and Ida have been attending obedience school in Minot on Wednesday nights.  Just another way we have been trying to get out of the house for activity.  The class is taught by an old school friend of mine Carrie Bush - .  Carrie is a great teacher and so far the barn dog Millie is doing better in class than we thought she might and Ida, the trained dog who is three successes short of her excellent rally title is the one who just can’t seem to pay attention. 

To hold back the Funk I’ve been trying to complete all the ‘art’ projects I had lined up for this winter.  The Paverpol fish are now complete and I have to say I’m pleased, although I was hoping to have enough Paverpol to do three fish and only got two.

We also made the decorations out of barbed wire that I’ve been dying to try.  The tree didn’t come out like I planned but its OK and you can still tell it’s a tree and the cone flower came out good enough to give it to my friend Lorrie for her birthday so we’ll count that one as a success.  You know you’re desperate for something to do when you and your hubby spend the afternoon bending old rusty barbed wire into shapes. 
The new quilt to snuggling on the couch is not done.  It has been attempted and put away too many times to count.  Our old quilt, sewn for us by my mother when we first married almost 30 years ago, has given up the fight and let dry rot and use tatter it to pieces.  Ida still thinks it’s ‘the bomb’ but every time Barry and I try to snuggle we hear the all familiar sound of fabric running for its life and giving up the race at the end of the seam. 

After finally getting the top all sewn together (and mind you this is not complicated quilt pattern, just 9 inch squares sewn in rows) I put the top and back into the wash to pre-shrink before sewing them together.  I felt I was on a roll so I went right into ironing them only to find that many of the squares had raveled away so much that some of the seams were at the breaking point.  It got put away that day.  My friend Janet at Simple Threads in Bottineau,  gave me some suggestions on how to fix it so yesterday Barry and I set out to finish the darn thing.  We fixed all the raveled seams and ironed it all nice and flat, laid the top, bottom and stuffing out on the floor and got everything all even and smooth.  Barry helped hold the weight of the blanket as I sewed the final edge seam and then we went to turn it right side out only to find we had put the pieces together in the wrong order and the back was on the inside and stuffing was on the outside.  More than a few choice words were said, I think a few door slams were involved and definitely a trip outside with the barn dog to cool off ensued.  G_d bless my wonderful hubby though who cooled off faster than I did and had it all taken apart and laid out in the right order by the time I returned.  We’ll attempt the final stiches today, Lord grant us patience….

After the quilt is done its time to move onto the rocks…ahh yes rocks.  How bad do you think I’ll mess up the rocks?