Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sneaking Into Spring

Spring is coming. I don't think we've had enough snow yet, but I was happy to be out in the garden again today. Tidied up along the driveway, clipped back some of the hedging, and cut down the dead plant material in the garden area we see from the kitchen window. There are lots of bulbs just starting to peek out of the ground. I can see daffodils, crocus, tulips and chionodoxa. There's only one snowdrop blooming though, out of the 10-15 bulbs I planted a few years back. They don't do as well when planted from dry bulbs. It's best to get them 'in the green'. That's pretty common in England, but incredibly unlikely here in Idaho unless you have a generous friend with a successful patch. Ah well, I'll keep trying.

The iris are coming on well, the chives are greening up, and lots of the other perennials in that area are just getting started. I still have tons of work to do, but it'll have to be another day.

Hubby's band, The Bru, played a private party last weekend at Hells Canyon Winery. It's in a beautiful setting on the edge of a valley looking south to a bend in the Snake River with the Owyhee Mountains beyond. There was a snow squall passing through as we arrived.
They had the party in their winery building. The food was set out in the tasting area, and the dance was down in the storage basement. You can see some of the wine storage surrounding the band.

I was part of the band this time, as the hosts wanted to try some Scottish dancing. So I chose 6-8 Scottish ceilidh dances, enough to fill about 2 hours. We did Gay Gordons, Canadian Barn Dance, St. Bernard's Waltz, Strip the Willow, Reel for Jeannie, and a few others. They had a great time and seemed to pick things up fairly well. I got a lot of good feedback on my teaching/calling too, which was nice. And encouraging for the teaching exam coming up this summer.

Our dance group has been asked to participate in Music Week this year. They are trying to re-start the International Dance Night. It's a 10-minute time slot that we may be sharing with the local Highland dancers. That is, if the Highlanders agree to it and if I get enough dancers to volunteer. We'll see.

We're making a few changes to our garden this year. We want to overhaul the coldframe to make it more useful. We'll put wood on all the sidewalls and get some plexi-glass for the tops. Then we can use it in Spring and Fall for salad greens and seedlings. I'm going to plant fewer tomatoes this time, and get new strawberries. I still haven't decided for sure on the other veg, but we'll probably include things that have done well in the past. I want to be sure to grow the Marconi peppers again. It was a lot of work roasting and peeling them, but it was wonderful to have meal-sized frozen packets of roasted peppers well into the winter.
Ken has been so happy with the canned grape juice he did that he's hoping to do even more this year. I think we'll have to do a bit of re-arranging in the basement!

Ken put down the three remaining chickens last Fall, as they were nearly 10 years old and not laying well anymore. Plus, we were going to be away over Christmas which meant finding someone to check on them while we were gone. Anyway, we're going to get some more this Spring, maybe April or May. I'm planning on Wyandottes. Not sure how many yet. Have to see what's available.

One of the band members is an organic salad greens farmer who also raises goats and sheep. We're planning to buy a goat - for the meat - closer to Easter. In fact, I understand we'll be helping with the killing and butchering. I've really enjoyed the goat meat I've tried at his house, so I'm looking forward to having some to try cooking with.