Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt fivegreenacres@gmail.com Poynette, WI
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Momma, wake up! Winter is here!

Momma, wake up! Winter is here!
November 24, 2008 Mary Jo

Too early this morning, a sweet little bird of a voice exclaimed the arrival of winter. In my foggy slumber, I envisioned a light dusting of powdery diamond snow adorning the trees with glitter. Hardly. Instead, what we found was somewhere between 2 and 4 inches of pure cotton softness (organic, no doubt) blanketing our entire world. Out of nowhere! Taking us completely by surprise! Begging the question, “Do we even have boots that fit?!”

We’re likely among the few who’ve been taken by surprise – I imagine that anyone watching weather forecasts saw it coming. We’d neither seen nor heard nor thought about the existence of those forecasts lately, hence our surprise.

It is the blanket that I’ve been prophesying to Isadora. The blanket that will cover the gardens and plants and allow for a long winter rest, all tucked in and cozy. One and a half weeks ago, we set out in what I imagined would be the absolute last opportunity to tuck some garlic into this bed before the inevitable slumber.

The garden, if you’re liberal-minded enough to call it that, was a rather tangled mess of overgrown weeds and ditched efforts to establish order. The prospect of planting garlic amidst the chaos was one that required a full tank of energy. Energy – it’s a commodity that’s been completely consumed in the gestation of a baby, leaving little left for the previously-gestated little one, much less a menial task like gardening. But there was this garlic, and it was the fall, and garlic should really be planted in the fall, if there’s any hope at all of starting off next season’s garden on the right foot. Also, it was Grandma’s garlic, dug with care for me, with the implicit trust that I would plant it. Opportunities came and went, temps soared, guilt settled in. Then, one day in the midst of November, the stars aligned and we set out to create this bed of garlic.

And the timing was perfect. The air was crisp enough to welcome the body heat that accompanies undoing an entire season of prolific weed development. The soil was rich and inviting and not yet too cold. The Garden Weasel, shown above, was held in a new regard.

An auspicious spot was chosen to bed the garlic – a shorter row, so as not to overestimate the unusual abundance of energy. It was also the spot that successfully raised an abundance of carrots and parsnips, which accounted for the bulk of our garden success this year. We found that we had missed some carrots in our last harvest – luckily, the Carrot Boss was on hand to stow them safely until they made it into the house.

Regardless of what next year’s garden becomes, there will be garlic. A whole bed of Grandma’s garlic to keep the vampires, the sniffles, and tasteless meals at bay for months. It is indeed a hopeful start to the garden season.

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