Through the Year

I'm hoping that March will be milder than the past month. The snow is still piled higher than I've ever seen here. The cold temps are not allowing for much melting of snow. Pruning the fruit trees will be a challenge - I'll definitely need to do it on snowshoes, but the bonus is I may not even need a ladder. My small plum tree has snow up to its lower branches - that's about 4+ feet. No melting is probably a good thing - otherwise we could be flooded!

February has arrived - my least favorite month of the year. It's cold and the snow has been gaining on us here in Central Mass. We have somewhere around 45" right now, and more snow is predicted in the coming week. As long as I don't lose power, I'm OK with the snow. But I will gripe about it - arms, shoulders and even hands are complaining. One good thing about being out in the cold and snow is coming in to a warm house, and having a little chocolate, especially to drink, is fine and conjures up memories of childhood.

As we head into another new year, we often take time to look ahead to new adventures while remembering the past year's challenges. This past year was one of many culinary creations for me, as I dealt with bumper crops of cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash, as well as many other vegetables and fruits. Being a good New Englander, I could not let the excess produce go to waste, so I turned to many days of canning, freezing, pickling and fermenting. I used old recipes and found new ones, delighting in the taste sensations I found.

It is appropriate that the first week in December is National Cookie Week, as it is at this time of year that I think about the cookie baking that I will do for the holidays. I love going through old recipes, from family and friends, as well as experimenting with new recipes that sound intriguing. Through the years, I have participated in cookie swaps, spent one whole day painstakingly painting icing on butter cookies, taught Girl Scouts how to make gingerbread houses, and generally baked my way through the holidays.

This year, the weather has cooperated and I have been able to process some of the persimmons from my tree. This has been an exceptional year for the harvest, and I am pleased to say that I have at least "done up" some of it. Each year, I watch as the persimmons fall to the ground, getting squished and dirty. I always eat a few, but then other tasks keep me from doing something with the pulp of this amazing fruit. Until it is ripe, the persimmon is quite astringent, and I had always thought that a frost was needed to ripen the fruit.

  

    My tent stands in a garden

Of Aster and golden-rod,

   Tilled by the rain and sunshine,

And sown by the hand of God,-

   An old New England pasture

Abandoned to peace and time,

   And by the magic of beauty

Reclaimed to the sublime. . .

Seems like we hardly had a summer. The weather had been cool, somewhat, through August, with nights down in the 50's. Great sleeping weather, but not what we usually have. No heat wave in August, either. But now it's September and the warm weather has returned.  Not much rain, either, but the gardens are still producing. And the weeds are still going strong. I swear they pop up - and are huge - overnight. This is the fifth time I have weeded the bricks in my sensory garden.

As so often happens at this time of year, I have been up to my ears in plant sales, annual meetings and growing my business. Add to that my continuing issues with my recent knee surgery, and you have a recipe for complete and utter chaos. Hopefully I will be back to normal soon.

He that plants trees loves others besides himself - Thomas Fuller

paw paw flower

PAW PAW FLOWER

paw paw flower

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