January and New Beginnings
Another year to celebrate and begin anew. Janus, the Roman god, was depicted with two faces, one looking to the past, the other to the future. He is often thought of as marking transition, between seasons, years, and other portals. It is fitting that our first month of our year be named for him. This is the time we look back over the past year, and also to the coming one, reflecting on our pluses and minuses, and hopes for a better year ahead. I like this poem from Thomas Hood -
And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in the hopes of a kindlier dozen.
I'm hoping this next year is kinder, in many ways. I've made some errors, but hope to gain from them. Making mistakes can often be the best way to learn. And I certainly make my share of them. Last year, I heated the area where I was starting seeds - mostly for my comfort, but I also thought it would be better for the sprouting. But gernmination was spotty, and some things I couldn't get to come up at all. It turns out that the wood pellet stove was making the soil too warm, even for some heat loving plants like eggplant and pepper. So, I've kicked it down and opened the door to the greenhouse, and things seem to be progressing nicely. After all these years of starting from seed, I realized I needed to monitor the heat much more closely. I guess I was lucky all those years - didn't know it!
I'm taking a stab at growing some more unusual plants - things like Devil's Club, Osage Orange, and a host of other medicinal plants. I was directed to Horizon Herbs by the Reisens, and this company has an outstanding collection of hard to find seed. Some of it may not see germination for a year - patience is the key here and I'm goign to see how well I do with that. Anyways, several things I have started have already germinated, and pretty soon I will be in full swing transplanting and starting the later seeds that need less time to mature. I took cuttings of rosemary and they are doing well. Not so much the bay and sage, and the lemon verbena just shriveled. But it doesn't hurt to try. Some cuttings should probably have been taken earlier in the fall, so I'll make notes and try to remember to start earlier next year.
The picture below is of a hawk in my backyard. I frequently see hawks, since I have several bird feeders and it's a great opportunity for a feast. I had one hawk this fall who somehow flew into the barn (there's a large garage door that I had kept open) and then couldn't figure out how to get out. I could see him at the window in the peak of the barn, looking to get out that way. It took a couple of days, but he eventually found his way out.
Looking forward to a kindlier year,
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