Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Regarding winter as a period of cold storage has more value than we knew. Yesterday afternoon Martha was cleaning out from the garden some flower stalks we had left up for the birds -- for perches and cover, and for the flower seeds. Once that clearing-out was accomplished, she went grubbing for root vegetables, and came up with an attractive assortment: a long parsnip, a number of stubby carrots, a few red globes of onions.

For supper she cooked a mix of whole grains -- barley, oats, rye and wild rice, I believe -- with some vegetable broth for part of the liquid. (We save our vegetable ends and peels when cooking, and make broth-startings with some regularity.)

Those vegetables, though ... so very sweet -- so different to tongue and tooth from how they seemed in the fall! Martha suggested growing them in the fall and leaving them all in place for spring harvest -- when we are far more pleased to have some kind of harvest -- or even any kind of harvest. The fall months get to be a bit overwhelming, in the harvest department.

Cellaring root vegetables underground and under snow certainly takes less effort than any other option. Plus it seems to greatly improve the produce.

... and I suppose I might view the demands of house, garden and winemaking as being the way daily life enforces some holding periods on writing -- even some periods of cellaring, although in the case of writing it is more over summer that the cellaring takes place, than over winter.

Yesterday afternoon, rather than tending to some necessary work on the book, I was on the southeast porch roof. I was removing several courses of rolled roofing for replacement. This is not the usual time of year for such work, in these northern regions. As unseasonably warm as it was, though, I figured I could do this bit of roof-improvement before spring rains come -- so that when they do arrive I can be indoors working merrily away with fewer concerns about water dripping onto the miscellaneous furniture projects that await me within that enclosed porch.

Cheers ...

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