9Mar2008

The Ice Storm Cometh!

We spent the entire day yesterday watching the final installment of the extended version of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Return of the King, a four hour endeavor (!), but worthwhile since we were getting pummelled by an ice storm. You could hear the ice shards ticking on our living room window as they fell and coated our world in ice. Turns out that being steeped in the battles of Middle Earth felt entirely appropriate since the elements made it pretty much impossible to do anything outside. I was happy that I had cut some forsythia branches last Saturday when it was above freezing. My plan was to force blossoms while the winter raged on. Turns out that this was indeed what the futurecast had in store. My outdoor forsythia is now encased in ice, and looking very otherworldly, and my indoor forsythia buds are swelling and looking very promising. I always think of Cinderella’s glass slippers when I see plants encased in ice. While braving the elements to see what it looked like, I also noticed that our lilacs had some stately buds on them – wished I had cut those last week! Fragrant lilacs in March! We’ll see if it warms up enough to try that experiment this week. Apropos of nothing, we finally got our act together to snuggle down and read while Hearts of Space started last night. Since VPR re-shuffled their schedule, we’ve never seemed to be able to hear HoS again, but we made a plan, turned ahead our clocks, grabbed our books (Spencer’s reading Kunstler’s The Long Emergency, and I’m blazing through Pollan’s In Defense of Food), and not 20 minutes into “this transmission of Hearts of Space, another excursion into the electronic soundscape called KONTINUUM”, our power went out. The hallmark of a true ice storm. So, we just went to bed, and called it a night. I had to re-set the clocks this morning anyway, it turned out! I also discovered that you can stream HoS online for free all day on Sundays – sounds like we’ll get to listen to it after all. I always get a little antsy to see some greenery at this time of year, hence the forsythia project. I also decided to start some microgreens in our dining room for our own consumption. I started them on Thursday, and they are just now (Sunday – 3 days!) showing their root radicle (Latin for rootling as Spencer helpfully shared this morning at breakfast) and starting to expel the hulls. I had a revelation about seeds while watching this process, and I was shocked that I hadn’t had it before. These seeds are old. Some are 2-3 years old. These are seeds that we have kept in a plastic bag in varying temperatures from storing in the greenhouse to storing in our 50 degree basement. And yet, with a little water, the energy within gets jumpstarted as though shocked with a defibrillator, and out comes a plant. It really is miraculous. These seeds were stored in less than optimal conditions (the folks at Seed Savers would be cringing!), and yet, they still had the critical amount of energy within to come forth! It made me think of harnessing the energy of all the seeds in the world – I mean, just think of all the weeds and grasses and plants going to seed and dropping their seed all over the world. Each of those seeds have intrinsic energy that is waiting for the magic moment to expend it. I guess we do harness that energy in food plants. We eat them and hopefully use that energy to do something useful. Maybe a little profound for an icy Sunday morning. Well, we’re all a little cabin fevery these days – especially the dogs. Below are some pics of our recent trip to the Half Pint Farm hoophouse to plant the ever tricky broccoli raab – we vow to master the wiles of this plant this year! Enjoy!!
Spencer and I schlepped shovels down to the field for our broccoli raab experiement.

We decided to use seed from Italy this time…

We excavated the seeder from the shed and got to work!
Then we got started shoveling snow on top of the seeded beds. This will water in the seeds as soon as the sun comes out. Our well pump won’t be turned on for a solid 6 more weeks.
Shovel, shovel, shovel. It took us about 30 minutes.
Et voila! Now we sit back and watch the broccoli raab work its magic! We are hoping that it will be perfect conditions – cool, sunny, no flea beetles. They should be up in a few days if all goes well.

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