In case you were wondering, waiting alongside me: yes, it is still winter.
I started making lists last night, though. Things to do this spring, house cleaning, gardening plans. We don't have much yard space, and our front garden was landscaped by the previous owners. I've never gardened in this climate before, so I have plans to start small: edible garden plans. I like my gardens to serve multiple purposes: give me food, entertain the kids, be easy to grow and thus decrease my disappointment levels. I also have a very good friend who is a horticulturalist in my back pocket, so I'll have her guidance and hopefully some of her own backyard produce in exchange for giving her kids swimming lessons. See? Spring and summer are already taking shape in my mind, now I'll wait for the weather to catch up. And start ordering my plant seeds. I'm thinking tomatoes, some herbs, maybe zucchini?
I am so excited for the farmer's markets to open again. I feel like now that we are settled in our house and have a good handle on what our grocery expenses are when shopping at the grocery store, I will be prepared to find budget-conscious ways to replace some of our staple food items with locally-grown nummies. I'm especially looking forward to finding someone with chickens, (for meat and eggs), someone who sells sausages, and then following along the fruits and vegetables as they come into season.
In the meantime, we are still enjoying our beef we bought from a local supplier. We bought a quarter (of a bull) last autumn that will see us through until the end of summer. It is flavourful, free-range hormone-free, and came already butchered into cuts and grind.
Another thing we've had in steady supply is local honey, produced by our family member's beehives last summer and autumn. We have been enjoying it thoroughly in our baking, stirred into cups of tea, and on toast in the mornings. It crystallizes, which means it has not been over-processed-- all the good stuff is still in it: pollen, antioxidants, magic honey healing powers.
I use honey to treat so many ailments: burns, upset tummies, sore throats, dry skin. It is a total cure-all. Summer will have to wait until she's older, but the other three girls all love it.
The first things to show up in farmers markets in spring are usually greenhouse-grown leafy greens and the odd leftover cache of root vegetables. I'm sososo excited to have colourful plates at dinnertime again, that aren't expensive imports from Chile.