On the new year

New Year, blue moon, new decade (well, okay, technically a new decade begins a year from today)…I am trying to square the idea that “it’s all new.”  Have you ever awakened from a nap and have had no clue what year it is, much less the time of day?  I swear I have these Rip Van Winkle moments a lot; it’s the main reason I don’t take naps.  And somehow this New Year’s has snuck up on me too.

BUT:  the turn of the calendar does indeed goad me into recognizing that It’s New.  And, being an American girl, I have been taught to believe that all that is new = good.  Haven’t you?  This has been an amazingly hard thing to unlearn.  But unlearn I have, and you’ll find that I am happier if gifted something old rather than new; “new to me” being good enough, and more than likely hugely appreciated.

New Year’s is typically the era of resolution:  one resolves to, more often than not, change something, be it a behavior or an outlook.  I admit I am not one for resolutions either, not that I think I don’t need to change things (I do).  This is also the time we do look back, at the year we just left:  but I would rather not.  (“Not a good year,” end of story.) It’s all forward-moving we’re doing, not backward; each DAY is a point of resolution, and yes I know that in my saying this I sound like a 12-step graduate.  Alas, no; I just think every day is precious.

And each day is.  Today, New Year’s Day, I planted garlic (in the greenhouse) with my daughter, the third year in a row we have done such a thing.  And that, alone, is reason enough to celebrate the day:  planting the first seeds of the calendar year.

Happy 2010, everyone.

18 responses to “On the new year

  1. I would say that garlic planted is indeed something to celebrate! Love the photo with the mittens. Our ground is frozen solid here in NW Indiana. If I’m correct, we are supposed to plant it in the fall, but I’ve never done it. Have a Happy New Year! I read your blog regularly, but never comment. I’ll ‘change’ that for the New Year! 🙂

  2. WHAT!??? Garlic can be planted now, here? REALLY? Right through the snow????

    oh, be still my heart…..

    I’ve moved (Bloomingdale fr. SF) but have no idea when to put what in the ground. I thought I’d missed garlic and onion planting…

    anything special I should know before I start in?

    • Hi Hayden…I should’ve clarified: the greenhouse is where we planted the garlic! Notice that lack of snow in there? I don’t know about Bloomingdale but we got a foot of the stuff last night! SO: if you can cut through the ground, then plant garlic! Really. Once the snow goes through the big thaw in Feb., try to plant some if you’ve got it.

  3. Happy 2010 El. In the sense of objects or things I was taught since birth by my father that new is best and that old should be set aside. I now feel the exact opposite and am much more comfortable with old, used, and worn but functional (I must have taken after my grandmother). In the sense of time I suppose I struggle with the past and am hesitant of the future but do really try hard to live in the moment. Like you said, every day is so very precious. Speaking of precious, I really like your new header.:)

  4. Either that is enormous garlic, or they are very little hands!

    Happy New Year!

  5. Happy back at you! I am astounded by folks who haven’t discovered the joy of pre-owned merchandise. Silly people.
    The new header and mitten photo are wonderful.

  6. I don’t seem to be able to shake the resolution thing, but it’s a year-round hazard.

    Garlic planting seems a delightful way to ring in the changes.

  7. Duhhh… in my feeble California-addled brain, bare ground still looks normal to me, so I didn’t “get it.” Thanks for the clarification! I get the organic stuff at the market and it’s always willing to sprout, so come Feb I’ll tuck some in the ground. Boy, that’ll feel good!

    Yeah, I don’t think we got a foot of snow last night… we did the night before… but looks like at least another 4-5 inches. Cold. I’ll stay inside and moon over my seed catalogs. Again.

  8. Happy New Year and many thanks for all your wonderful posts!

  9. Happy 2010! I didn’t know garlic can be started this early. I see in your earlier comment that we’re good to go if the ground can still be cut through. Well, we got a fairly good-size snow storm a few weeks back, but it was followed by a thaw and lots of rain, so I can indeed get through the ground. I guess some planting is in order before the next freeze/snow!

  10. I just found your site through A. @ the urban homesteader. I can’t believe I haven’t been here before. Love it! I read your bio and it reminded me of myself – chemist turned urban homesteader with a dream of 5 acres, goats, chickens, and a lovely little hoop house. I’m adding your feed to my blog reader so I don’t miss it again!

  11. Jayme, thanks…I really get a kick out of your writing, especially when it involves Helen, that poor little biddy. Here’s hoping your 2010 is a fruitful one! And yeah, should’ve clarified, it’s frozen and snow-covered here…except (yay) in the greenhouses.

    Hayden, I am quite sure the transition process will still take a while: geez it did for me and I *only* moved here from Minnesota. You know, some of the more successful garlic I ever got was from the West Michigan Co-op. I cannot remember who grew it, but if you go on their site you can see who lists garlic as a product, and you can call them and get it from them directly. And: try to grow some starting this Feb. What the heck.

    Mike, frankly many days I personally feel “old, used, and worn but functional,” so I guess it makes sense my stuff should be too, right 😉 ? Just kidding. You’re right though; it’s really just an attitude. I wish more people shared it.

    Ellen, it’s a bit of both (big hardneck garlic and nearly 6 year old hands). Happy 2010.

    Pamela, where have you been??? Hope your holidays were swell with people cooking FOR you. And yeah: love the pre-owned; definitely has more character if nothing else.

    Stefani, well. Resolutions have a way of biting one on the rear, so, being conflict-averse, I avoid them as a general rule. But yeah, it is fun to have a few food-based traditions around the holidays. Mother’s Day everyone leaves me alone to garden all day, and wow is that a great gift. Happy winter gardens to you.

    Randi! Happy winter to you up there! Keep warm.

    MC, sure, if you haven’t already. Garlic likes to go through the chilling, and in my experience doesn’t really care if that chilling lasts months or what. In fact, down south, they have to refrigerate their garlic to trick it! Have at it, and happy new year.

    Hi Shannon! I’m glad to have met you: food-wise, we’re right up the same alley. Here’s hoping 2010 has a fruitful garden in it for you…it’s so gratifying, even if the farmer’s market is less work 🙂 I dunno, nutritionally, nothing beats something plucked minutes from the garden before eating it. Happy New Year to you and your boys.

  12. Happy New Year! May you receive many good things new to you! 😉
    BTW, brilliant idea about the diaper liners and Keeper catchers!

  13. In regard to your comment that nutritionally, nothing beats food just plucked from the garden….that goes for tastewise, as well! The collard greens for our traditional New Year’s Day meal (black eyes, collards, corn bread and rice) were picked from the garden and brought straight in to the kitchen, and they were the Best. Collards. Ever!
    Happy New Year, and all the best in 2010.

  14. Can you grow garlic in pots?

  15. Amanda! Glad I could share. In point of fact, the old cloth diapers too are wonderful things. I always have a couple in my car, and really don’t care what people think when they see them; they’re great for wiping off a clouded windscreen or a kid’s runny nose…or to mop up my coffee.

    Kelly, absolutemente. It’s the reason I never have produce in the refrigerator: it’s a dying thing, so it’s important to get it fresh-picked. Your festive meal sounds great!! I didn’t grow enough collards this year, sadly…

    Jules, as long as the pots are pretty deep (garlic roots go down about 6″ and they need to be 3″ underground) and the soil is pretty good, I don’t see why not. Don’t crowd the pots though!

  16. You are so kind to actually respond to the comments people are posting.

    I live in central Missouri, so as soon as this horrible weather breaks and the ground thaws some, I will try to stick some garlic in the ground, even if its something from the grocery store (our farmers markets are long gone for the season). Surely, its worth a try…:)

    I was trapsing around this past weekend (its been very cold – 0 – and we’ve had several inches of snow since Christmas that keep mounding up) – and I noticed that in the spot where I had (actually successfully for the first time) planted some carrots this year (in an old wash tub) that there was a board covering one corner of the wash tub. I pulled it back and LOW AND BEHOLD there was a carrot top, still green and bushy (although small because I’m sure it just started growing only since fall), which got me to thinking about a cold frame.

    (sorry, I’m trying not to be long winded here). I have some plexiglass in the basement that would work for a cold frame. We already have snow on the ground. Can I set up a cold frame, let the sun warm the dirt I put in it and possibly get some lettuce to grow in there?

    Planting in a cold frame (and one day a hoop house would be glorious) is one of those things I just haven’t attempted yet but seeing that little carrot growing under the corner of a board, gave me hope!



    • Hi Jenna! Absolutely, you should give any outdoor winter gardening a go. A word on the garlic: most likely, it will be softneck from the grocery store, with 100s of little cloves. Separate them, but don’t expect to get garlic that same size! They’re grown in an area much more temperate than central MO. But salad stuff? Under plexi it sure will sprout. In fact, you will have to figure out how to vent it because it can get TOO warm if it’s in the sun all day. I wouldn’t attempt carrots or broccoli at this time of year because it will go to seed on you with the spring warmup. But lettuce, spinach are fair game. And, one day, your hoophouse dreams might just come true 🙂 Look at my “Books” tab above for good 4 season gardening books.

      AND: eat that carrot, raw! You will be surprised how sweet it tastes after getting chilled.

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