When I was a kid, my mum used to get seed catalogues in the mail beginning late January and also kept a very detailed journal in which she would plan the upcoming growing season. Notes on what worked and where the previous harvest, species to try, budgets to maximize what made it into the freezer and pantry. She was an ambitious gardener, as well as raising chickens, turkeys and ducks when this was simply an extension of living simply and frugally, rather then a “lifestyle choice”.
I thought those journals were crazy mum stuff, some weird diary for women not drawn to drama and more concerned with the minutiae of the everyday. But I get it now.
Partly, I love the ground level science of it. Observation, trial, hypothesis. Partly, as I have grown older, where one I felt burdened by the everyday, by routine, by “just” living, now I am at peace with it to the extent I can be. It is the real, profound, quiet and often overlooked act of walking about your yard, or the park or your street and actively noticing tiny, cumulative change.
But mostly it is like a kite string attached to Spring, making it yours tangible. By planning for Spring and even further, for fall’s harvest, an escape route from snow and long dark days is found.
Last winter, up all night with very little Boogie/Taryn, I REALLY wanted spring. One hand holding the baby, one hand researching heirloom beet varieties to plant. Have I mentioned we love beets? Next matching tattoo -beets. To quote Tom Robbins in Jitterbug Perfume-
“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…
The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.
The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”
Anyway…beets. Researching beets led to this lovely business, Cubit’s Organic Seeds. I loved the seeds, the dedication, the care, the thoughtful writing, the great recipes…and loved the integration of artisan entrepreneurship & kids presented with beauty. An awesome discovery that brightened a long winter’s night then…and a winter’s day today.
Cubit’s will be at OOAK in the Etsy section with little organic packets of hope. How amazing that this company should be at our first #OOAK in the year that we have our first full growing season in our first home.
My kite, happily blowing away in the upcoming Spring, is beet red.