I didn’t intend to give up blogging for Lent, but I inadvertently took a blog sabbatical for the past month. It was probably a combination of spending time on a few community activities and end-of-winter fatigue (will it ever be warm and sunny again??) that left me unmotivated to post lately.
Winter has hit me especially hard over the past couple of years. I’ve read that Seasonal Affective Disorder often affects women in their thirties. I suspect it’s a little of that in addition to adjusting to parenthood that have made recent winters a bit tougher than usual. Last winter was my first being home with a new baby and having a husband busy teaching high school and coaching speech activities in a town 25 miles away. This year was better. Since Cory’s a grad student at our local university, his schedule has allowed him much more home time, and the baby is now two years old (although, as one columnist in this month’s The Lutheran notes, “Mothers of small children are always tired.” Boy, do I know it). Still, this winter has been long, cold, and dark, and I guess I’m just not resilient enough to stave off its effects for the entire season.
However, I know that spring is on the way (yes, the calendar says it’s here already, but this is South Dakota. I never believe it till I see it.), as evidenced by the harbinger we usually see around here: thousands of geese are having their yearly layover on Lake Herman.
Of course, there’s also the garden! Spinach is in the ground; sweet peppers are germinating (I’ll get tomatoes started in the next few days); and leeks, onions (red, white, and yellow), scallions, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, broccoli, and luffa are all growing in yogurt cups in the house. They cover the south window ledges in the kitchen and our daughter’s room. Our former residence, our little cabin down the hill, has big south-facing windows in the loft, so I’m also taking advantage of that space in lieu of a greenhouse. Plus, I’m experimenting with the milk jug greenhouses and have about a dozen of those outside on our south deck with various cold hardy seeds planted in them.
Next up in the garden: Cory’s going to till enough yard to roughly triple the size of the current garden. He’ll also till some strips in another spot where I’m going to experiment with a pumpkin patch. My plan is to sell u-pick pumpkins and gourds this fall, something that I haven’t seen done around here. Another task I’ll tackle soon is rerouting my garden beds. Right now they run east-west, but Andrew Lee tells me in Backyard Market Gardening that north-south beds work much better:
Postition your beds in a north to south direction. This way you will get maximum solar exposure from the morning and afternoon sun. Also, prevailing winds in most parts of the country are from the northwest or southwest. These winds are less likely to flatten crops in north-south beds. They can funnel the wind, rather than have to stand broadside to it (Andrew W. Lee, Backyard Market Gardening, Burlington, VT: Good Earth Publications, 1993, p. 253).
One more blog note. During my online break, I missed my first-year blogiversary! Yep, as of March 11, this little blog turned one year old. Has it been worth it to spend time out here in the blogosphere? Absolutely. Cultivating this little space has given me the chance to connect with a few folks I might not have otherwise. And I love how this venue lets me speak up for South Dakota and rural America in a way that wasn’t possible before widespread access to the Internet. I firmly believe our stories need to be told, and I look forward to more of us telling them. I hope that in some small way I can foster more connections and meaningful interaction between people on the plains who want to leave this place even better than they found it.
One final note: I want to offer my congratulations to everyone over at South Dakota Magazine on the fantastic redesign of their website. I’m particularly honored that they’ve included Prairie Roots as one of their featured South Dakota links. And just to brag things up a little, it looks like my husband (Madville Times) and I can claim to be the only married blogging duo with our sites both listed on the South Dakota links page. He’s politics (even though I was the poli sci major), and I’m culture. We’re pretty stoked!