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I got out to the farmer’s market Saturday, for the first time since it turned cold. “No one’s going to be there!” Eric exclaimed. “Who’s going to go when it’s 25 degrees out?” I explained that the winter market is held in the covered area of the market where the walls can be put down. Apparently he doesn’t remember me going there last winter.

Plenty of people were there, actually–vendors as well as shoppers. I stopped to talk with a couple of friends for a few minutes in front of the honey lady. We probably stood there too long, but I got a big jar of honey and some whipped honey-with-blackberries, so I hope that made up for it. I also got some bay leaves, since my bay tree died a while ago, some sweet potatoes, apples, and kohlrabi. I’ve never tasted kohlrabi, much less prepared it myself, so this should be interesting. I’m not sure what to do with it. But I’m up for trying, and we need to start cooking more; we’ve been doing too many dinners that are a pot of pasta and nothing else, or Jimmy John’s, or pizza. (Homemade pizza, but still.)

It’s also time to think about winter-sowing some lettuce. The winter-sown lettuce I did the year before last was bigger and better than any I planted in the ground directly, and with the beds a mess I can’t do that right away anyway. Now that Chloe is able to be by herself for reasonable stretches (I made two kinds of bread this weekend, for example) I should be able to spare a few minutes to cut open a cider container and dunk in some dirt and seeds. Eventually I want to do gardening with her, but right now the dirt and seeds would go right in her mouth and that’s a situation best avoided, so she can play in her jumper while I start some salad.

I’ve been in a bit of hibernation, I think, recovering from having a baby and then having postpartum depression and then having to figure out what life with a baby is supposed to be like. (Hint: frequent bouts of uncontrollable crying and wanting to give your baby away is not it.) (Further hint: Zoloft is awesome. So is a decent bedtime for the baby.) And of course the dying of the year didn’t help matters. But even though it’s still winter, I think I’m ready to rouse.

The current status of my garden: lousy. I got my pile of mulch (mostly grass clippings and leaves) and my newspapers, but I only managed to spread them over one corner of the vegetable garden–the corner that was recently dug up by the city to install new sewer lines and is therefore lousy as far as soil integrity. I cut down the wormwood and feverfew and some raspberries and cleared out the herb garden, but didn’t spread any mulch there either. The weed situation in the spring will be dire.

Inside, my papyrus is dying. I could say it’s a symbol that the previous incarnation of our marriage (this was a decoration at our wedding) is dead because the baby caused a new one to be born with her own birth, but actually it’s scale. I hate scale. It came into my house with what was the Meyer lemon, now whatever-kind-of-citrus-they-used-as-rootstock. It’s still out on my back porch, frozen to death. I let it die partly out of laziness and partly out of pique.

The seed catalogs have arrived, which is partly responsible for rousing me from my nature-starved slumber. I’m not planning on buying anything, because I have lots of seeds and we’re hoping to move out of the house before the main harvest hits, but I’m enjoying looking and thinking about I would buy, if. And there’s plenty of room for dreaming and planning and experimenting in my seed box already. So, despite my dark thoughts on the subject not long ago, I’m going to–slowly, because a baby really does cut into your free time–start preparing for a new gardening year.

Flowers and even fruit are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and the future.

Marion Zimmer Bradley

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