Imagine that the wall behind this rustic feed bin has been white-washed, and deep green ivy is creeping slowly up it. Rhododendrons are in full bloom at the feet of the bin, and a six-foot tall metal chicken is perched on top. This was the quirky vision that flashed through my mind when I spotted this rusty old feed bin at an auction last summer. I had to have it for our old general store, but it was the next item up for bid, and I hadn't registered to bid yet. Luckily, a friend was close by and started bidding on it for me. To my relief, we won with a whopping bid of ten dollars! My husband looked at me like I'd lost my mind, and a few old farmers just shook their heads. They obviously didn't see my vision. There was quite the discussion on how it was going to fit in our small truck bed, but finally it was simply tipped it on it's side and scooted on in. I knew it would fit. Once strapped down, it looked more like a rocket than a feed bin, so we counted "3-2-1 blast-off" and shot down the road. We landed safely at our building, unloaded the bin, and placed it exactly where I had envisioned it. And that's as far as I've gotten. But I'm working on it. I already have the rhododendrons planted, and a climbing hydrangea too. Once the building gets white-washed, the ivy will sprout back, and then all that's left is finding a metal chicken. Hmm. This might be harder than I thought...
"Ooohh, I have to have that!", I exclaimed. My husband glanced my way, rolled his eyes, and went back to picking through the junk that surrounded us. We were knee deep in debris inside an old barn that we'd been allowed to salvage through. I held up my prize and promptly sneezed. The dust whooshed off the 1980s era wooden cassette tape box in my hands, and I gazed at it and pondered the possibilities. I knew it would be perfect for something, so despite my husband's skepticism, I laid it on our take home pile. Several months later, when it was time to start planning the garden, I decided to go through my leftover seed packets. Finding them, however was another story. I had a habit of cramming them in oddly random spots, and what I could find looked a bit worse for wear. Surely there was a better way to store them. I spread the sorry looking packets on the table and contemplated the situation. Suddenly, a vision of the cassette box flashed through my mind, and I knew exactly what to do. I immediately dug it out, cleaned it up, and sprayed it down with peacock blue paint. Then I stuck the packets in the slots and sat back to survey my work. I smiled proudly and decided I had created the best seed organizer ever. Now every year in late winter I pull out my handy-dandy seed box, and I dream about what I'm going to plant. Or I just stare at the stash. Either way, It makes me happy.
The rotted floorboards crumbled in my hands, the pieces falling through the hole we had created, past the now exposed support beam that was holding up the floor, and into the darkness of the basement below. My husband and I were working on our renovation project, an old general store building, and had decided to tackle tearing out the water damaged areas of the floor. It was getting messy. I reached through the gaping hole in what was left of the floor to scoop off the debris that had piled up on the support beam. I grabbed a handful of splinters and started to toss them on down, but something caught my eye. It looked like old paper, and the handwriting on it, though faded, was beautiful. I brought it closer for a better look, and in the dim light I read "We can't be too careful. Chew this up and swallow it if you have to." My heart jumped. All work was forgotten. I knelt there on the beam and slowly, carefully unfolded what turned out to be honest-to-goodness secret love letters. Dated 1913. From a young school teacher to an older man. She never mentions her name, or his either. But she doesn't hold back her adoration, her longing, and sometimes her frustration with him. She is feisty, funny, and flirty, and I see why he liked her. I have yet to piece together their story, but from what I've read so far, it's an epic one. And even though it happened over a hundred years ago, it's only beginning for me.
I peered out the window at the dusting of snow that had fallen overnight, and I wondered what the groundhog was seeing. It was Groundhog Day. And no matter what he decided, it looked like winter was sticking around. Granny always told me despite the weather, Groundhog Day is the day you plant your greens. Lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, arugula...all those cool weather leafy greens need to get their start while the snow is still flying. And they won't start themselves. So, I put on my thermals, slipped into my woolly boots, and headed off to the greenhouse. I sorted through my seed stash, scratched up the soil in my seed starter boxes, and sprinkled in the seeds. I topped them off with a light layer of soil then showered them with a bit of water. Then I dusted myself off and dashed back to the house to warm myself by the crackling fire in the wood stove. The groundhog might think spring was far away, but to me, it suddenly felt a little closer.