I feel like I've been living in an old black-and-white silent film for weeks, except for the sound of tree limbs in the woods cracking under the weight of ice, crashing to the ground. Frozen fingers, cold wet feet, power outages, backed-up frozen pipes, heat-less nights, frayed tempers. I've spent far too many hours over the past few weeks stuck inside, buried under blankets, while watching snowflakes fall and icicles drip in between storms and waiting for the driveway glacier to melt long enough to run a few errands before the next storm moves in. Good riddance, February.
The snow, sleet, and ice look to have finally cleared out, afternoon temperatures have at last sprung up out of the 30's. Flocks of robins are pecking at the ground for earthworms. If I squint, I swear I can see the faintest tinge of green emerging in the woods. I ran up to our sleepy little neighborhood hardware store early today for a few odds and ends. The shop was mobbed with winter-pale people packing carts full of gardening supplies the way they were cleaning out the bread and milk aisle just a few days ago. On a Monday morning. The stockboy was moving the pallets of icemelt off the sidewalk to the back room, which made me want to jump for joy. Tiny signs of spring.
We still have to get through a hopefully brief mud season (and probably some more cold) before I can start the outdoor planting in earnest, but it's good to see spring on the horizon. It is now officially all-you-can-eat egg season; and the winter carrots are still just as sweet as promised. Also something a little different this week: broccoli greens. There is a row of overwintered broccoli plants in the big greenhouse that have not been earning their keep in little side-shoots, so it's time for them to go and plant something more productive. Broccoli leaves aren't all that tasty in hot weather, but in the winter after a good hard cold snap (done!) the leaves are very tender, and taste almost exactly like sweet broccoli. I recommend sauteing them quickly with a little garlic; they're also wonderful in a mixed-veggie stir-fry. These greens will only be available this week!