Back again and better than EVER!

Okay, maybe “better” is a relative term, but we are definitely back! So hello once again to the blogosphere — how you have been missed. Mostly, anyway. The break from blogging about gardening was a welcome one as we were perfectly pooped by the end of last season. But, we just placed our seed orders this past weekend, so it’s time to start gearing up for the summer!

But it’s tough when things outside look like this:

Sorry, took the shot through a screen. You think anyone is going outside in that?!
Sorry, took the shot through the porch screen. You think anyone is going outside in that?!

We should say when things looked like that, because this was our backyard a week ago when that big snow storm set itself right over the East coast. When it was all said and done, we got close to 15 inches of snow, and the high winds made for some rightfully sculpture-esque snow drifts. It took nearly two days for us to shovel the driveway to a point were we safely get the car in and out.  And here we are a week later, the snow is almost gone, and it’s  nearly 60 degrees out! Back in December and January we hit a number of balmy days in and around whatever is considered “normal” at this time of year. This has certainly been a strange winter.

But with our collection of stuff that we has saved from the garden — squash, beans, ground cherries — as well as our small collection of canned tomatoes and pickles, it has also been a very tasty winter! Our butternut squashes were turned into delicious soups and casseroles. We’ve been used the canned tomatoes for everything from pizza sauce to chili. And the beans have been made into countless soups, and for New Year’s, some Hoppin’ John!

Only have a pickture of the cowpeas hat were used for the Hoppin' john. We were too busy eating the finished product!
Only have a picture of the Red Ripper and Blue Goose cowpeas that were used for the Hoppin’ John. We were too busy eating the finished product!

We don’t really use a recipe for Hoppin’ John, which is really just a collection of stewed cowpeas (black-eyed peas), onions, tomatoes, peppers, celery, carrots, and practically anything else you might like to add including meat, all served over rice. It’s a fantastic dish that works well as a main meal or side dish. (For inspiration, this recipe from the Pioneer Woman is really wonderful.)

Outside of eating all the deliciousness we could, once January rolled around, we looked forward to our favorite task of the month: going through seed catalogs!

010seedcatalogs
Nothing like warming up to the possibilities of summer on a cold, winter day.

As has become something of a tradition, we spent a few January weekends creating a grand wish list of all the things we’d like to grow, someday, maybe. Then, when it came time to actually purchase seeds, we whittled the list way down to those things we could afford and knew would work well enough in our garden. That meant adding more beans to the mix, as well as plenty of lettuces, greens, cucumbers, and peppers. We didn’t go bonkers with tomatoes this time as we have LOTS of tomato seeds to keep us going. (Plus, it’s very possible we’ll see the return of the “tomato jungle.” Not that it would be a bad thing, but we’ll certainly rethink our approach to it should it reform.) Once we get our seed orders in (maybe next week or the week after), we’ll take a look at some of the new things we plan to cultivate this year.

So that about wraps things up for the moment. We do look forward to catching up with our followers in the coming months, and we’ll be back next week as we get the garden prep rolling!

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