Out the window is a sea of white. The chickadees and nuthatches take turns grabbing sunflower seeds from the feeder. Every once in a while the blue jays and woodpeckers flap in and push everyone aside. Then they leave, or are more often startled off by the dog, and the small birds return. Meanwhile, I sit here and watch it all unfold.
It’s my time of year for quiet and retrospection. A time to look over the past year’s experiences and notes, and to think about what went well. Also it’s the time to look at what could be improved upon this coming season. Which is a nice way of saying, “What just plain failed, stank or drove me nuts last summer?” But with a little more distance and perspective.
I welcome this time. I’ve looked forward to it. Planning for next season ignites the grower geek in me. With the arrival of the seed catalogues, the possibilities seem endless! I have all the energy, time, heated growing space and perfect weather in the world.
Then the reining in and looking at the numbers begins. Energy, time and space are finite. The weather is not always predictable or ideal. Things break, often all at once.
But it was fun to go for the ride, even just for little while.
After three years of more formalized record keeping, a few patterns emerge. Like how I always start way too many seedlings early in the spring. Also, always believing the printed dates to maturity in the seed catalogues when I plan my rotations. Then there’s the very bad habit of dropping my record keeping in late summer. Now is when I could really use notes that are more detailed than, “Feeling really burned out today” and “Will it ever stop raining?”
At least I have a decent idea of what sold at each market after dutifully keeping records every Friday in Wiarton. Those pages elicit an almost physical reaction, bringing back the memory of standing chilled in the cold rain while hoping people would venture out. But also they bring back memories of smiling familiar faces, sharing recipes and cooking techniques and connecting with people who really care about food. That community is priceless.
So onward with the planning, and the bird watching.
For other fun aspects of winter living off grid, may I point you to this post.