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Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Tide is Turning

I am not one to wish my life away, waiting for the next season. I do, however, acknowledge and greet the seasons' turnings... not at instants, moments, a day here and there when the sun sits on a balance point or reaches zenith or nadir... but as they build energy and wane, like the ocean tides that come and go.

Currently we are approaching the mid point between winter solstice -- the nadir -- and vernal equinox -- the first balance point between light and dark. This cross quarter is known as Imbolc, celebrated with media frenzy as Ground Hog Day and known sometimes as Charming of the Plow. I call it "spring finding" as it opens the door to the noticeable increase in day length and other hints that spring it on its way.

I went out this morning to do chores and found this sign of approaching spring! Without being given a heated or lighted home, the first of our Americana hens has laid an egg. Chickens, like all northern birds that I know of, take a much needed rest as the nights lengthen in late fall. Farmers who have lights in their chicken coops, and turn them on to keep the birds awake for several hours or more each day can usually keep them laying through the winter. I prefer to give mine a rest, and only give them increased light, if I do, starting about this time of year when they naturally begin to lay.

I am personally beginning to have more interest in working more on projects that imply spring. I started germination testing my lettuce seeds, and am using the seedlings in planters that I grow under lights which give us some early greens, usually before equinox and definitely while the ground outside is still frozen.

My first (early) see order has been made and received; I needed onion, leek and celery seeds which I will start next weekend. Also, next weekend, I am presenting a talk on "What to Plant When" at the permaculture center at the University of Maine in Orono. I find that many people do not know that there are plants that prefer an early, cool start. Many of these plants benefit from an extra early start, indoors under lights or in a bright windowsill... like my onion seeds. After trying it a couple of years ago, I was pleased with the yield from the seedling started onions, especially when compared with the cost of onion sets or plants from a garden center. This way I can pick varieties that are known to be good keepers, also, rather than being at the mercy of the garden center's buyer.

Along with the increase in light, it seems, has come an increase in hex sign orders! Though I have not officially opened orders for the year -- I have some changes I want to make to the web site -- they are coming in. I was happy to be able to ship an order of 6 indoor signs to New York State. This order was from earlier in 2013, but was held on account of my not having been able to meet the initial short deadline, to arrive before the customers took off for an extended vacation. Signs ordered for this home included:
Blessed Year

Mighty Oak

Abundance and Prosperity

Earth Star Flower

...and two Abundance signs.