It’s the last day of January, and I already have cabin fever. Normally the winter weather doesn’t really get to me until early March, and I then I start to dream and plan my summer garden. This year my cabin fever started way too early. I don’t usually let the weather stop me from keeping to my normal schedule and doing my normal activities. I am blaming it on the extreme weather that Chicago has experienced for the entire month of January 2014.
After all, I come from sturdy stock … I used to work outside on the ramp at O’Hare for over 15 years, for goodness sakes. While we have experienced extreme low temperatures a few times this past month, we haven’t broken the record. I vividly remember experiencing that record low temp of -24 (without the windchill) on January 20, 1985 … it was my first day working at O’Hare! I remember thinking to myself, “what in the world was I thinking?? I had a nice, warm, comfy desk job at a travel agency on Michigan Avenue”. Of course, I survived and have great stories to tell from that day. It was a great job, with great travel benefits. I have many wonderful memories of this time … it was the perfect job for me during my single days 🙂
According to the Chicago Weather Center Blog, we haven’t broken the record for snowfall this month either, but our 33.5 inches takes 3rd place in the record book. The blizzard in January of 1979 gave that month a total of 40.4 inches to take 2nd place. I remember making a lot of $$$ shoveling people out that winter 🙂 The 1st place Chicago snowfall record is from 1918 with 42.5 inches … wow!
They are predicting more snow for tomorrow, so it appears February will be more of the same, yippee! Oh well … I’ll have to figure out someway to keep myself amused in my nice, warm cozy “cabin” for a while longer. Don’t be surprised if I have a really big garden this spring 🙂
Tell me some of the things you do while spending these cold and snowy days at home …
Summer has officially come to an end … with autumn comes the task of canning and preserving the harvest. My garden crops differ from year to year, but this year, my tomatoes and broccoli were my star performers. Up until this point, I’ve managed to keep up with the ripened produce – by sharing with friends and neighbors and/or serving it to my own family. With the change of the season, it seems that all my grape tomatoes ripened at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love grape tomatoes, but I think I may have had my fill of them for a while:) So, I started researching how to preserve them for later use. I checked out books about canning from the library (I know, kinda old school). I also looked at several websites. They all went into great detail about techniques for peeling and seeding the tomatoes. I didn’t have tons of regular sized tomatoes, I had hundreds of little, tiny grape tomatoes … there was no way I was peeling and seeding them 🙂 Continue reading →
This is my 10th blog post; so I thought I would share my Top Ten reasons that I love having an organic garden …
I just love daydreaming of how my yard will look come summer time. Reading garden blogs and leafing through seed catalogs. It takes some of the chill out of a snowy northern Illinois March.
I’m a planner at heart, so I love planning the layout of my garden plot. I started keeping a journal to keep track of what was planted where and the date … what worked and what fizzled. I actually map out my yard and pencil in the variety of plant that will be planted there. My journal also helps me remember what perennials and/or bulbs I have, as well as, when and where they are located.
I love starting the seeds indoors and placing them by the most sunny window in my house. Checking on them each day, waiting in anticipation to see the first newly sprouted seedlings.
I love when the weather finally warms up enough to get outside in the fresh air and do some initial yard clean up and garden prep work. While I don’t love picking up a winter’s worth of debris, I do love discovering my daffodils and hyacinth breaking through the ground and coming to life.
I love planting my thriving little seedlings in the moist garden soil. When I look over my work, they look so fragile and spaced so far apart. It’s hard to believe in a just few months they will be huge and seem crowded.
I love watering and nurturing my garden, especially in the early summer. I use homemade natural, organic mixtures ~ not chemicals to fertilize and to control insects. Notice that I didn’t say that I love to pull weeds, but alas, I do it so my plants get all the sun and nutrients from the soil they need. Plus it looks so nice ~ all neat and tidy J
I just love, love, love discovering the very first tiny, cute little green bean or bell pepper of the season … it’s so exciting !!
I really love the first delectable bite of the very first juicy, red, ripe tomato !
I love going out to my garden and picking fresh herbs and veges to use in preparing meals for my family. You just can’t get any fresher than that … from the garden to the table in under an hour.
I love sharing the bountiful harvest with our friends and neighbors. I like canning and preserving the last of it so we can enjoy it during the long winter, while anticipating and planning for the next summer garden 🙂
I recently started paying more attention to the ingredient labels on some of my favorite food brands. I was shocked by all the ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce. So many different chemicals, why were they needed? As preservatives? For longer shelf life?
So I tried to start to eat more fresh produce. That has to be good, right? Then I started reading about how much pesticide they use for the mass production of produce. How they pick the fruits and vegetables way before they are ripe and use other chemicals to ripen them enroute to the store.
Also, many of those chemicals are being found to be carcinogens. What? So eating fresh produce can now give you cancer? This world we live in is becoming a very scary place.
So, I think to myself, I need to figure out a way (budget wise) to buy organic produce. It’s like double the price, but my family’s health is worth it. Then I discover that there are all kinds of loopholes so that companies can label their products as Organic even though they used pesticides. So much legal mumbo jumbo.
So, I think to myself, summer is coming, I’ll try organic gardening. I’ll grow my own veges. Then I learn about GMO seeds. Really? Seeds that produce fruits with seeds that can’t reproduce?
Now I have to find Heirloom seeds …
Will it ever end? Will we always have to be at the mercy of big business making the almighty dollar … whatever the cost?