Scram.

Who is eating my cauliflower now?

They don’t even wash their hands first.

Is it a lost cause for the others? Should I pull them all now?

Sigh. At least tidy up after you go.

It turns 21.

My Happy Day. December 17th. Each year I mark the date today. A remembrance of a delineation. An occasion of conscious choice toward following my gut in the face of Them and Supposed To. A day when I decided to find my way through a prolonged storm on a path unmarked. A not-yet path.

It is forgotten, often, to look up. To breathe in the ways the clouds skirt across the sky and to release one’s full weight into the earth. Forgotten, too often, to reflect upon routines as repeated choices when a moment of consideration would result in a change.

It is easy, on the surface, to follow. To flit. To fill one’s life with busy and bustle and the exponentially spread need for “hustle.” I can hide the hard that way. I see you doing the same.

Today, I’ll raise a glass, and offer cheers to choice. Cheers to intention and cheers to deviation. Cheers to the future resting and ready, ensconced in unlikely casings, to be released.

Winter is coming.

I didn’t want to watch that show, but whether or not I did, winter still comes. For now, anyway.

Our first frost of the season is expected tonight. Three years ago next week we even had snow! No snow this time, but still, it’s crisp and cool and time to tuck some pots into the garage, some inside by the sliding door, and cover the wilder (aka in-ground) tender growers with blankets and buckets and such.

My daughter’s peas are as tall as I am and have yet to flower. They’re not getting away from my little pea-aholic that easily.

Soak it up, Peas. It’s about to get dark…
And cozy.

I actually got two little yellow squash before tucking the plant under a quadrupled row cover. (Or was it octupled? Surely that’s not the actual word.)

The cilantro, chard, and lettuce all had a strong harvest today to reduce any potential loss and reduce the size of cover they required.

One strand of peas (mine) got a hug from a hoodie of mine that’s drinking age. (Picking as many peppers as I did caused me to shed the hoodie and I thought, why not?)

I’m sure we’ll be stringing peppers and nibbling lettuce tonight and tomorrow, cozy and warm in our snug little home. I hope each of you are starting the same, with a little glow coming from within when you think smiling thoughts.

And now for homemade turkey soup…

Grateful every day and extra today.

We say our “gratefuls” most every day. I’m sure we forget every so often. For months my youngest was always grateful for broccoli and cheese. I can’t really blame him.

For awhile my eldest couldn’t ever say what she was grateful for. She couldn’t choose. Sometimes we’d hold up what we we doing until she agreed to some thing from the day we knew she’d enjoyed. Eventually we just let her skip when she needed to.

I am grateful for thousands of potential future carrots.

For a few years, I posted daily on social media every day in November a few things I was randomly grateful for that day.

I quit social media a few years ago, unless you count this. I started up a new platform early-covid. I quit it in August. And then my mom asks a few days into December if I still do daily gratitudes in November and if I’d do them with her. I’d forgotten all about that aspect of this habit.

Sure, I said. And we didn’t get to every day. It’s been an odd month in our family, let alone “with everything that’s going on.” I do think that’ll be the catch phrase of this year. Is the safe gauge to ask someone how things are going “with everything that’s going on” and let them decide which pieces of that everything they’d like to talk about.

I think she forgot to do today’s and I think I did as well.

As my husband and I are teaching our children that thanksgiving is a day to practice gratitude like we do most every day, but that in our family it is to be particularly aware of and grateful for having enough food to eat and share that we spend time making, sharing, and eating good food.

As we’re waiting another year or two to talk about what other people may be celebrating today, or why there are pilgrim hats on turkeys everywhere, they’ll forget to be grateful for broccoli and cheese (as they are busy being grateful for pumpkin pie and homemade challah and mashed potatoes.

It doesn’t feel like thanksgiving to me until it smells like challah in my home.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this year the things that are small are easier to be aware of and grateful for than the past. The slowing down is to thank. The daily life differences between Too Much Corporate and Never Too Much Playtime. The effort and the lack of other efforts.

I’m grateful for the hope I feel when I see the first curls hinting at cabbage heads. Or broccoli bunches. Or cauliflower.

Cauliflower’s dreaming of snowballs.

Refresh. Refresh.

One of the gardens, mostly refreshed.

But also, my screen time on my phone is up over last week by more than 60% on average and it’s only Friday morning. You don’t want to know the hard numbers from Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some things don’t need to be neat and tidy. I like the dandelions in the soil around the Brussels sprouts with a carrot laying on top.

Their roots come out eventually, going into a saved glass jar to wait for a future glass of tea. The greens go in my eggs if they’re just my eggs. If the eggs are for sharing, they feed the compost just as well.

Other things need to be immaculate or immaculately accurate. Surgeries. Library shelves. Counting rooms.

I do hope that, eventually, people stop imagining dandelions where there are none. I do hope, eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, this country can refresh itself. Removing the noxious and watching the beneficial move into the open space left behind.

I do hope. Still.

Can’t catch ‘‘em all

A missed sweet potato showing its hands next to the winter brassicas.

It’s been a decent sweet potato year. I tested yield differences between ones left to creep and crawl and ones given climbing options.

Both varieties gave noticeably higher yields under trellis, the purple Japanese variety really pulling out all the stops in a combined test of second year growth (volunteer list from last year) and shared trellis with a melon. I got maybe 30 lbs from that one spot.

I kept going for a good while after taking a progress photo.

I am not sure between Vardaman and Yellow Jewel how yields were, as they got eaten quickly and I hadn’t labeled the spots, mistakenly thinking I’d be able to tell them apart upon harvest. Both were creamy and tasty, and much less floral than the purple ones (the only way I can think to describe it, it’s not a bad thing.)

The purple ones are also more starchy and fibrous, but the yields on them are impressive in the second year. In the first year they mostly vine and send down a web of roots, seemingly to prepare for next year. No wonder I’ve yet to see slips for them for sale. (These I started in my pantry from organic ones from the grocery store.)

I imagine future sowings will depend heavily on future location climate more so than preference. If I were staying put another year, I wouldn’t add any more purple ones, as I’m sure I left some in the ground already, but would likely triple my creamier varieties to 36 plants, all trellised, and see if I couldn’t get a proper scale.

Delicious, nutritious, purple snowflakes.

She can spot ‘em

Green lacewing eggs

She flits and flies, tornadoeing or tiptoeing, most everywhere with a wave of insistent energy. Screeching to a halt (at times complete with sound effects) to alert the world of the wonders she’s found.

Whether these eggs have become more prevalent due to our watering and planting, or I simply am made aware of their existence more than I’d go looking myself, she finds them everywhere, all the time, and always with delight.

A caterpillar hunter turned green lacewing observer, who thankfully will still help squish harlequin beetles, is growing and growing all around me (as she often is running in circles.)