In the garden/ On the nightstand

As happens every year, the first couple of teaser 50* days in February have gotten me all twitterpated for spring.  I’m making lists of seeds to buy and drawing layout diagrams for new beds to be dug in (with the help of my patient and wonderful husband, since I’ll be six months pregnant by the time the ground thaws enough to move dirt around), daydreaming about the asparagus bed I planted last year maybe, just maybe being full enough to cut a couple stems and already drooling over the thought of the first June strawberries.

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As I usually do when summer still seems too far off, I started re-reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this morning.  It’s her memoir of her family’s year of eating locally and it invariably gets me excited for gardening and for the start of the outdoor farmers’ market.

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The fact that astonishes me from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is in one of Kingsolver’s husband’s sidebars.  He is a biologist and includes scientific information on the health and environmental benefits of eating locally.  Here it is: “If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”  Isn’t that mind-boggling?

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We do much better eating locally during the summer when we can get all of our vegetables and most everything else from the garden or the farmers’ market, but we have been making an effort this winter to continue to buy our meat locally.  Lest you think we’re tree-hugging hippies (… ok, ok, maybe we are a little bit), we’ve also found that there’s usually a big difference in taste between local, pasture-raised meat and feed-lot meat from the grocery.  So while I love the idea of supporting local farmers and spending my food dollars locally, it’s a bit selfish, too, because it tastes *so good*.

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Ok, getting off my soapbox now…

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The seed catalogs beckon and I just had another idea for the yard (there’s a huge burning bush that’s taking up prime real estate in the front yard.  Wouldn’t it be way better to dig that out and put a raised bed there for… what?  Sunflowers and pumpkins?  More tomatoes?  A cutting garden for flowers?  Anything would be better than the burning bush.  It won’t be *that* bad to dig out, right?)

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These are a few of the pictures from gardens past that I’m daydreaming over today.  I hope they make you feel like summertime might be just around the corner, too!

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