January is almost over and cabin fever is hitting me hard. I'm cold and tired and sick of being cold and tired. I want a good, juicy tomato, not some mealy, pink excuse from the grocery store. I want watermelon juices to drip down my chin and sweet corn kernels stuck in my teeth. A cucumber with salt, eating green beans while I pick them, checking under a canopy of leaves for a round melon. (Notice this is all food cravings; I'm cold, tired, and HUNGRY.)
In this cold weather, all I am growing is a increasingly hungry baby. I've got to break out my seed trays and grow lights soon. I am increasingly hungry for a little green right about now and my only surviving houseplant (an african violet) is not enough.
Last weekend, I took the train home and then drove with my mom and sister to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for a weekend-long course on growing vegetables for markets. It was a long Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that kept us inside from the 5 degree weather and got us excited to break ground, break out our gardening gloves and get a head start on spring. While the wind blew outside on campus, we learned about high-tunnels, hoophouses, tractors, weeding, pests, selling at market, and creating business plans and budgets for small market gardens. We left with a lot more knowledge, confidence, and excitement for the coming growing season and making our farming dreams come true.
We took our new ideas back to our suburban backyard (mom, dad, and sister) and our small in-town acreage (me and Joey), and hope to work on our farming skills for the day (someday soon) when we finally buy our dream farm. For the past year or two, my parents and sister and Joey and I have been plotting on how to make our small farm dreams a reality. In the past few months we have started looking for areas where we could find an ideal farming situation. It will probably take a few more years of planning but the dream is starting a small vegetable, flower, honey and wool farm where Joey, my sister, and I can create a livelihood and my parents can retire close to their children and grandchildren.
It may be a few years down the road, maybe sooner, but it is something nice to dream about during these cold, dark winter days stuck inside with dog-eared and pen-marked seed catalogs and mountains of books on gardening.