The holiday decorations are packed away for another year, the house cleaned, the olives brining, and the sauerkraut... well, krauting. It feels great to "ring out, wild bells, and let him die" and welcome a new year.
Despite the lack of rain, the garden is humming along. I've got seed trays of kale, chard, rhubarb, purple carrots, and more cabbage in the greenhouse. The wheat is beautiful, thick and green, and with the clover growing beneath it, completely covering the raised beds. It's about 18" tall now. Isn't this the stuff people blend and drink in shot glasses? I imagine a ruminant would like the looks of this wheatgrass.
The bulbs don't seem to care if it's still winter. The solstice is past, and something in them says it's time to grow, grow, grow. Spring is different in Northern California. It starts early. I noticed the first batch of new bees coming out to take the air, and orient themselves to home, on this first day of the year. So the queen is laying again.
We have lots of lettuce and spinach growing at the moment. The Brussels sprouts tried their hardest to form heads, but something kept eating the leaves whole (my guess is squirrels) and then the aphids recognized an opportunity and moved in. So I pulled those out, gave them to the chickens, and direct sowed more kale and chard seeds in that bed. The cauliflower is having a second life and looking good, and the broccoli is producing side heads right now. We picked all the ripe cabbage to make into sauerkraut.
The peas succumbed to frost, but I've got more starting in several other places. The garlic and shallots are doing exactly what they are supposed to. After severely pruning all the woody perennials such as sage and agastache, I sowed all my spring wildflower seeds directly into the pollinator gardens. I'll have to keep them moist, since there has been no rain. I'm hoping for a real wildflower show this year.
There have been lots of interesting birds to look at lately, including a large golden eagle in my neighbor's oak tree. I miss the summer bumblebees and butterflies, but the birdsong has been glorious every morning, and I'm enjoying watching the hummingbirds at the feeder.
We have several projects in the works. I'm planning the layout of the summer garden, though it will go in late this year, and have received all the seeds I need for the season. I've ordered 75 strawberry crowns (four different varieties) to plant in hanging gutters, more on that project at a later time. My dad got me some carving tools for Christmas, and I'm learning to whittle; I want to make serving spoons from some of the branches I've pruned off our larger trees this winter. Tom tried his hand at rough puff pastry today and the results look promising. Lemons are in season, and we've our annual limoncello to make, as well as enough preserved lemons and lemon juice to last us the year. So we are keeping busy here at Poppy Corners. Everyone goes back to school and work tomorrow, except me. I don't start again until the 22nd!
Happy New Year, everyone!