Tuesday, December 21, 2010

blue sky at night; welcome the return of the light

the lunar show last night was spectacular. the sky was perfectly clear. i didn't take any photos...kinda regretting it now.

i was up past four last night because i couldn’t turn my brain off. or maybe because of the moon. after the umbra passed everything lit up so bright...the sky turned a dark shade of blue, like the sky in this beautiful infrared image, “the fisherman” by roie galitz. in fact, that image is a pretty good representation of what it looked like outside last night, the way the little bits of leftover snow reflected the moonlight and everything appeared frosty.

now that i finished the bit of work i needed to do i can relax and enjoy the season. AND work on all the last-minute gifts i have yet to finish, but that seems easy and fun now, especially since i sent out all the packages i needed to ship last thursday. close friends are all i have left to make things for--they’re used to me being a little behind the times.

how is it possible that january is just around the corner? it was august yesterday.

i’m ready for the days to grow longer, that satisfying waking stretch that happens after the solstice. seed catalogues are piling up and i’m preparing for seed starting season, less than two months away.

a few weeks ago i organized my seed library then made a list of everything, separated into categories. it’s reached new levels of ridiculosity, this hoard. 44 varieties of tomato, almost all of them heirlooms, more than i could grow in one season even if i stuck to just one plant of each. 9 types of lettuce, 20 varieties of flowers, 15 non-lettuce salad greens, 8 peppers, 11 beans and peas, and so on for a grand total of 173 seed varieties. this spring i’m either going to have to buy a few acres of land or make some tough choices. (kidding about the land.)

my fall garden didn’t really work out this year. there was mild weather for a long time, and then BAM!, snow and ice and crazy low temperatures, within just a couple weeks of the first freeze. the deep snow melted a while ago, then we got another dusting, but most of that has melted now too and i can see a few things still living:

thyme doesn’t seem to care how cold it gets.

radishes are still partly green, but keeled over, i think they’re done for--some of the roots might be big enough to eat.

kale and sage are doing ok,

and parsley and collards are wilty but still alive. rhubarb swiss chard, however, turned into a disgusting pile of brown mush. the red coloring leached out into the snow and looked like a bloody mess.

a lot of my late-start seedlings are still very much alive, surprisingly--they’re not growing so much, but even after being covered in snow for weeks they’re still perky and happy. i think the snow functioned as insulation on a lot of those colder nights.

i found a woolly bear caterpillar the other day.

pretty late in the year for you, little sister.

indoors, the planter i filled with tomato and basil cuttings produced two little red cherry tomatoes, then everything died--it wasn’t getting enough light. my potted vietnamese coriander is leggy but otherwise healthy.

the only other things i have growing inside now are a red poinsettia and little timothy cratchit (“tiny tim”) the tomato plant, who’s living up to his puny namesake, unfortunately.

its first two fully-developed flowers are open right now--the rest dropped off before opening all the way. not exactly weighted down with fruit like i hoped it would be by this time, but it’s nice to have a tomato plant growing, whether it produces or not. i like to rub the leaves and take a deep breath of that wonderful summertime scent.

happy solstice everyone!

8 comments:

Shari said...

Emily,
Thank you so much for the surprise gift of seeds (and the adorable necklace -- love it!).
I have really enjoyed your blog this past year and am looking forward to another growing season.
Happy solstice!

Emily said...

you're so welcome shari! i've enjoyed keeping up with your blog also.

Bumble Lush said...

Beautiful pictures! (and omg--that's a lot of seeds!) Happy Solstice!

Emily said...

thank you! yeah it's excessive, hehe.

GoneferalinID said...

I just made a post about your amazing gift. Happy Solstice to you. It was really fun finally meeting you. Here's to a new season of watching our gardens grow!

Emily said...

it was so fun meeting you too! we totally need to have garden get-togethers this year.

Jessica said...

I started looking at a seed catalog the other day. Can you believe that it's almost time to start the cycle anew?

We tried to watch the solstice, and we saw a bit of moon blurred by humidity and then suddenly there was nothing but clouds. Oh, Portland! Glad to hear that you got to enjoy the spectacle!

Emily said...

i know! the cold weather months are flying by! i'm sorry you didn't get a good view of the eclipse. the sky here was full of clouds until around 10pm, so it wasn't looking good, but then it cleared up completely in time for the show.