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Columns

November 21, 2012

End of the season; time for a break

By tomorrow afternoon we will have harvested the last of our vegetables. Two lonely stalks of kale, today snow capped and a bit bent over after being buffeted by the hurricane’s winds last week, will take up primary residence in a kale soup whose makeup we have yet to determine. All of the gardens have been cleared, cleaned and mulched up for their winter sleep. Seeds have been collected, processed and stored. Winter storage racks are chock full. Mason jars line shelves in the basement. We should eat well this winter. And still have plenty to share with family and friends and those less fortunate.

About mid-summer every year I start thinking about ways of extending the growing season. At the same time I am thankful that outside chores are on the wane and look forward to a less physical, more cerebral stretch of time. Books have piled up, lists of essay ideas sit ready to be reconsidered, and inside jobs take precedence.

High on my dream agenda has always been putting in a greenhouse of some sort. Nothing substantial, just a small sunlit space, ideally, attached to the house where I can fiddle around with plants during the winter months. I just never get around to it. I seem to talk a good game, but when it comes to actually doing something about it either the cost or my growing expertise in putting things off indefinitely preclude my taking action.

As I sit here looking out on our snow-covered hillside I know in my heart that as much as I love working about the place, be it gardening or splitting and stacking firewood, I am thankful for the break. I can now let the bookworm in me have a go at things for a while. The nice thing about sitting at a desk writing or reading for a sizable chunk of every day is that it is much easier on the lower back and the rest of an aging body whose recovery times have increased exponentially over the years.

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