Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is It Winter Yet?

That's the question M keeps asking almost every day. Sure, he knows that it's supposedly winter time now. But then "how come there's no snow?". Good point! In fact, it's been so warm lately that we went ahead and opened our 2012 planting season by sawing lettuce. And don't you be thinking I'm rushing things here.

We first went to a real honest-to-goodness farm to help out sawing lettuce there. Turns out, there's a small organic farm less than 5 minutes away from us. It's an Interfaith Food Shuttle farm and they are always looking for volunteer helpers. I am way too non-committal about things like that, but fortunately I know people who know people who make these things happen. So, long story short, one of the moms in our homeschooling group organized an outing/volunteering for the preschoolers and we went along.

It was a very cold and windy day, as you can probably tell from the pictures. But still, kids had fun. First, they found an old row where carrots grew last fall. Except there were a few carrots left unpulled and forgotten. And the farmer allowed our kiddos to pull and eat (or take home) those lovely organic carrots.

We then got to see the greenhouse and the chicken coup and finally, got to broadcast lettuce seeds, pat them down and cover with the row cover from the cold. I felt inspired. So last weekend, when the weather was really nice and warm (something like upper 60s), we spent a couple of hours in our front yard, weeding, adding fresh compost to the beds, putting mesclun seeds in (I had some left over from last year) and, of course, patting them down. Needless to say, within a day the weather turned from nice and warm to still nice, but kinda chilly. Then yesterday I decided that the ground was too dry and watered it just a little bit. Sure thing, it's been raining since this morning and will rain through the weekend.

Seriously though, I got lots of work done in the front yard cleaning it and making it nice. And M got to spend a lot of time outside figuring out how to keep himself busy. So he started by launching some of his smaller toys into space, then digging a hole in hopes of finding magma. And then he just made himself comfortable next to my sorrel plant and munched on its leaves all the while explaining that it was delicious and full of vitamins (and it was!).

He then decided to make some salad with sorrel, store-bought lettuce, radishes and cucumbers. He patiently cut the cukes, tore the greens and asked me to chop radishes. He then mixed the simple oil and vinegar dressing. He then ate about a forkful of it and proclaimed it a delicious delight, but left most of it untouched (rushed off to play with his friend who is not big on eating salads). The next day he looked at the leftover salad and was surprised to discover that, although the salad lost its crisp, it became even more flavorful. So we talked about wilting, dehydrating qualities of salt, and how vinegar pickles veggies. In the spring, I explained, we'll plant our own radishes and cucumbers and all. Ok, he said, but that's a long way away 'cause it's not even winter yet 'cause where's the snow.

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