Where the white stuff has melted away, we have snow drops blooming and tulips, daffodils and rhubarb shooting up through mulch. I’ve noticed the currants’ buds starting to swell, and I can finally see the entire garlic patch through the kitchen window.
Though air temperatures remain (apart from yesterday) unseasonably cool, bright sunshine and longer days signal that change is on its way. Geese and songbirds are certainly responding, their joyful conversations drowning out the crows, whose intermittent squawks for months were the only avian sounds punctuating the winter air.
I’m delighted to report that all five grapevines made it through — although one just barely. After last weekend’s pruning session, our Himrod is sporting a single, lone cane. Its others were dry, cracked, desiccated ghosts. Not a hint of green living flesh.
I’ve got to give the vine credit. A year ago, my pruning mentor thought the Himrod was a goner, leaving its shorn trunk in place on the off chance it might come back. I had even researched replacement varieties, convinced we’d be pulling the vine out come fall.
Instead, our Himrod has become the little grapevine that could, refusing to succumb to consecutive harsh winters. The beating it has taken means it won’t likely produce grapes again this summer, but as long as it can use the sun’s energy to replenish its roots, our little Himrod is bound to keep chugging along.
Indoors, plant life has overflowed onto the sunporch. Trays of red and white cippolini-style onions sit happily beside pansies, cutting celery, a wide variety of herbs — Napoletano, Thai, lemon and dark opal basils; parsley, lavender, lemon balm, hyssop and pennyroyal — and slow-growing parsley root and celeriac. Buttercrunch lettuces in coconut fiber pots are almost large enough to start harvesting.
Back in the dining room, under grow lights, with roots warmed by a heating mat, are Thai and kamo eggplants, Santaka chili and banana peppers, jalapeños, red Marconi frying peppers and sweet, thick-walled Cal Wonders.
I’m still holding out hope for more than two Sarian ever-bearing strawberries, a single leek and stubborn Greek oregano. Plus, Sparky marigolds and several varieties of tomatoes should be up soon.
With all these signs of life, who cares if there’s still snow on the ground?