Even though that sun has given us a few sneaky rays of hope, it’s still very much the heart of winter. I can’t help but think this year’s winter is a long one. Maybe because I’m living in an 1880’s school house and the heating is fairly basic. And maybe, just maybe, the La Nina effect is in full swing and the cool and wet days have been influenced by the goings on in the Pacific ocean. I’m no meteorologist, but I do know about veg gardening. I must admit that I got my winter veg in late this year with a last minute house move and all, but I got most of the important stuff in the ground just in time. And mother nature may have been slow to give me some results, but they are starting to come good. Out of all the veg in that rich soil, the first to grace the plate was the humble rocket. It’s been in pesto and the much appreciated workman’s ‘manwich’ with bacon, egg, cheese and relish.
I’ve been planting like crazy, with the spuds now in the dirt, along with a plethora of future food: leeks, peas, broad beans, carrots, parsnip, onion, garlic, celery, kale, spinach…the list is endless! I have learnt to love the winter garden over the last few seasons, appreciating its offerings of leafy greens, mizuna, cos, and super broccoli. But this year I’m especially impatient for the odd warm days of spring.
I must confess however that I’m still taking much enjoyment in chopping, splitting and stacking firewood, and of course its end result – the warm glow and heat it provides in our fireplaces. Before long it will be hot, so hot that a cold beer taken fresh from the fridge will bead, sweat and perspire, and nights will be slept in next to nothing and the flies and mosquitos will be back in numbers, sent from hell to keep our hands busy slapping and waving at them like fools. For now I am very content with what is on offer, I love my nights in the school rooms, the hissing of the old Tilly hero lamp, the golden flicker under the mantle and being curled up under a glorious Pendleton pure wool blanket. Summer can wait.