Thursday, February 3, 2011

Teasing the Gardening Diva

Nobody likes a tease.  We’re taught early on it’s best to (respectfully) be direct and say or do what you mean. Winter, for me, is just one big tease!  Here’s why…
 I love the simple pureness and sheer beauty of a fresh snowfall. I find myself looking out the window mesmerized by the textures and gentle movements on the other side of the glass.  As a gardener, I view the changes in my landscape as remarkable.  It feels like only yesterday that I was brushing the soil off my knees after planting in that very same spot.  Today, I simply shake my head as I see Larry and the dogs tossing the ball around and running through my (snow laden) vegetable gardens when he doesn’t think I’m looking. Lucky for them; they’re cute and I’m in my winter tranquility mode. This would never fly any other time of year!  I embrace winter as a time to refuel for the boundless hours of gardening that the longer days bring and to nurture my favorite cold weather pastime.

My passion for gardening goes hand and hand with my love for cooking.  I must admit that I don’t spend as much time in the kitchen as I would like during the warmer months. But now, I take every opportunity to pour through cookbooks and search the web for new recipes. My free hours are now easily filled in the kitchen.  This is where winter becomes a big ‘tease’ for me.  I am so fired up to gather all of my fresh ingredients to add to my recipes.  I love the taste of freshly picked tomatoes off the vine and the delightful flavor that my fresh herbs bring to the plate. Oh… the fresh cucumbers and eggplant and the scent of basil on my fingers as I pinch off a few leaves.  WAIT!  STOP!  Screech… that’s the brakes as I remember that winter has stopped me cold in my tracks!  Agh, I can’t just step outside my kitchen door and pick those fresh veggies & herbs that my taste buds are dying for.  That’s the irony of winter; the old law that our good friend Murphy came up with.  Now that I have the time to nurture my love of cooking, my timing, or my garden’s timing is way off.

Yet as we know, one thing always leads to another. My discovery of new recipes has led me to daydream and ‘wander’ through my gardens.  My mental checklist begins. Plant more snow peas & lettuce for an earlier harvest (√).  Add a new savory eggplant variety (√). Place the tarragon near the end of the bed and locate another herb to the other side for easier access (√).  Oh! And I need a new pair of gardening gloves and the purple hose nozzle leaks a bit (√). You know where I’m going with this…  Still, I’m energized by thoughts of what else can be grown, how much, what can be harvested & preserved for next winter and on and on!

As I enjoy my time in our warm kitchen, flavorful scents all around, I enthusiastically anticipate getting back into my garden.  Meanwhile, I satisfy my cravings for all things fresh and simple by growing herbs indoors for cooking and placing fresh lavender, my favorite herb, throughout the house. Most importantly, I continue to feed my senses, my soul, my husband and our waistlines this winter with homemade cooking! In fact, as I read another cookbook last night, Larry asked, “How much do I have to expand the garden this year?”  I coyly smile (I would NEVER dream of being a tease) and think, ‘Hmmm…’
... Frances Grossman