Day 35 – Living well in spite of Old Man Winter

It is a bright and stormy day in North Dakota today. Snow is falling and blowing around, and what little light comes through the clouds makes everything kind of blindingly white. As gloomy settings go, this isn’t highest on the list, but it is somewhat disheartening to see snow falling…again.

I saw did see something today that brightened my spirits quite a bit, and Sprouts day 2reminded me how large a difference one day can make. The seeds which were just barely noticeable in yesterday’s picture are now very apparent.

Today is going to be a mixture of crappy chores like paying bills and cleaning floors, but also a trip to the local Rambler’s Magic City Bike Show. It’s always fun to get out and see the motorcycles on display, and running into people I haven’t seen in a while.

The nice thing about being from North Dakota is you learn from a young age to respect our weather because it will kill you, but also how to live well in spite of it.

Today is a good example. It’s snowing and crappy outside. No doubt the roads will be extra slick with all of this new dry, fluffy snow falling. However, there is fun to be had and people to see on the other side of town. It would be easier to just stay put and putter around the house, but getting out is good for the soul. As long as there is decent visibility and clear roads there’s no good reason to let Old Man Winter win. You lose, you mean old bastard!

On the flip side, there is a certain coziness to just being in the house when the weather is icky. Maybe I’ll curl up with my latest crochet project later after the sun goes down.

Here’s hoping you find a way to live well, no matter what weather is thrown your way. Blessings and warm green thoughts to you all!

Winter weather blessings come in strange packaging

Yes, that’s right. There are even blessings to be found in the depths of winter. What’s today’s blessing? You’d be surprised.

I heard on the news this morning that the windchill in Winnipeg, Manitoba will be -49 today. You didn’t read that wrong. It’s that cold. Winnipeg is a neighbor of sorts…about a five hour drive from my house. Here it will only be -20 below with the windchill. It’s a small blessing, but a blessing none the less.

Another blessing I ran into yesterday was a fabulously good deal on a sturdy new winter coat. My old coat was starting to resemble Swiss cheese. The pockets were full of holes, and the zipper lost the little tab so trying to get it zipped up was quite a chore. So, now I have a spiffy new coat, and I’ll be warmer for it.

Even better, we are half-way through January. I’m gunning for March, when I can plant the seeds which will be the start to my garden. I’ve been giving some thoughts to starting my herbs in pots that I will just transfer outside. Oh…just thinking about it makes me feel warmer already!

Next you will see posts here about garden plans. Stay warm everyone!

The garden is in, and an early Fathers Day

The weather was gorgeous today, and so we went out right away this morning to finally put the garden in. Now, most of you are probably thinking to yourself, “shouldn’t the garden have been planted a loooong time ago?” Yes, it should have, but events conspired so that it just wasn’t possible to get the garden in before now.  No biggie. It’s better than no garden at all.

Older son helped me plant, starting with the onions. Younger planted the pumpkins, watermelons and cucumbers earlier, and they made it through the recent prairie hurricane that blew through (thanks for that, Brea. It’s an apt term given all the wind and water that came our way!) . We’re not quite done, though…the herbs and flowers, and two packs of peppers still need to be planted.

Here’s a quick list of what we have so far:

  • onions (Walla Walla)
  • garlic (left over from some a friend gave me from their garden last year. Hopefully they will take root!)
  • six kinds of  hot peppers (Jalapeno, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Anaheim, and I can’t remember exactly the other three at the moment)
  • three kids of tomatoes (Amish Paste, Sweet Cherry and Manitoba)
  • cucumbers
  • watermelon
  • pumpkins

I have more space to dig up, and I want to plant zucchini and spaghetti squash. I know it’s late in the season, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get at least a few squash by the middle of September.

Well,  we are off in a few minutes to go celebrate father’s day early with my Dad, since the kids are going with their father tomorrow. Oh…I forgot about what I got my Dad for Father’s Day…and I got some for myself too! When I was picking up the other vegetables, I ran across some Yellow Husk Ground Cherries. I have heard that they are very delicious and easy to grow.  I’m hoping that the seeds can be saved to make some more next year too! Here click HERE to read more about these interesting plants.

I’d post a picture of the garden, but the yard’s a big mess, and we’re not quite done yet. I’ll post one after we get it all done and cleaned up.

Oh well…off I go to order the pizza and get dressed for the day. It’s going to be a nice day at Mom and Dad’s with the boys.

A good Spring rain does the soul good…

Today is Easter Friday and it’s raining outside. So many people I know are moaning about the rain (which could change to snow tonight), but I am grateful for it. After the long winter, it takes a good rain to wash everything off and freshen things up.  In fact, I would like nothing better than for a great big thunder storm to come through and thoroughly wash everything clean.

My Aunty Beth, one my favorite relatives of all, used to say that the weather you got on Easter Sunday is the same weather you would get for seven Sundays afterward. I know it’s just a wives tale, but I’ve kept track over the years, and more often than not it’s accurate. I’m sure it’s just a cyclical thing like all is with weather, but I find it interesting anyway.

Speaking of cyclical things, this is the only time of year that I am truly grateful for the changing of the seasons. I love watching plants and trees wake up and turn green after a long cold winter. I love to start seeds for my garden on my kitchen table, and keep track of their progress until it gets warm enough to put them outside. I love to watch the water run as the snow drifts melt down to nothing. I love to walk outside barefoot and feel the Earth warm under my toes. Just about the only thing I don’t like about Spring is mud…damned stuff gets everywhere in the house no matter how careful you are, but it’s a small price to pay.

Today when I woke up to the rain pattering against my bedroom window, I heaved a big sigh of relief. Winter isn’t necessarily done with us, but it’s certainly on its way out. Now it’s time to plan my landscaping and my vegetable gardens. Now it’s time to make plans to have windows and doors replaced and possibly even the roof. It’s time for renewal and revitalization…and not just for my house and yard, but for me as well. The best thing of all that Spring brings is hope and new possibilities.

I think it’s fitting that Easter is in the Spring. While I have not been a Christian for a very long time, it’s still a holiday I celebrate. Not because it’s the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but because it is a resurrection of everything up here in the cold Northern Plains. Even though I was raised a Lutheran, we never really did celebrate Easter (or any other holiday, for that matter) religiously. Easter was always a really good reason to get together with family, eat good homemade food, and have a good time. Sometimes it was very much like a mini family reunion, as we’d get to see family or friends who we hadn’t seen for a while. Today my parents are coming over for supper, and it will just be the five of us since my brother and his family couldn’t make it. It will still be a good time, and we’ll eat good homemade food, and reminisce about past Easters and the people who made them special.  I sure wish I’d made time to make some lefse…

I hope this posting finds any who read it well and having a nice Spring weekend, whether you celebrate Easter or no.

Happy Spring!

Spring has finally arrived!  I’m so tickled about it, I’m practically wiggling like a happy puppy.

Some years Spring arrives with a cloak of the last bitter vestiges of Winter. This year, it arrived as it should…blissfully warm and sunny. It’s a fabulous day for Spring cleaning, so I coffeed myself and the kids up good and now we are doing just that. Younger Son is outside chopping up a snow bank so it will melt quicker, and Older Son is helping out with odd stuff around the house until it’s time for him to go to work. Uh oh…Younger just came in complaining that he hurt his back. Oops. I guess picking up the yard and spreading the snow to melt quicker will wait.

Shutting off the heater, opening the doors and windows goes a long way to making me a very happy person. The old, sick, stale winter air can get out and be replaced with good fresh air. I sure did need that…it does wonders for morale.

Now comes pulling furniture out and cleaning and reorganizing rooms. Now comes organizing the basement so we have an exact place to put everything, and getting rid of things we don’t need. Now comes a less cluttered, more organized life. (Snickering…) Yeah…we’ll see how that works…but it sounds good, doesn’t it? I’ll give it a good try.

Not only is Spring cleaning a good thing, but I’m looking forward to getting my seeds started this weekend too. Even though there are shoots of grass  sprouting outside, I still feel the need to have stuff living in my kitchen. I had such a good time gardening last year, I want to do it again. There’s something about nurturing those seeds until they spout and grow large enough to put outside that really lights my fire. What can I say, I’m a cheap date!

I wish you all many fresh-aired, sunny, Spring blessings!

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