Final week a Fb buddy shared with me a stunning little poem by Sudie Stuart Hager. Born in 1895, Hager was Poet Laureate of Idaho from 1949 to her demise in 1982.
He Is aware of No Winter
He is aware of no winter, he who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when he’s free from toil,
He plans his summer season crops, selects his seeds
From bright-paged catalogues for backyard wants.
When searching upon frost-silvered fields,
He visualizes autumn’s golden yields;
He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
Treasured moisture for his early grain;
He hears spring-heralds within the storm’s turmoil
He is aware of no winter, he who loves the soil.
Studying these easy, imagery-laden traces, I felt a direct connection to this sentiment. So usually, family and friends members have commented to me, “Oh, you should be so completely happy now that the climate is lastly heat,” or “now that “winter is over,” or “now that spring is right here.”
They imply properly, in fact. I’m simply by no means positive in the event that they perceive after I inform them that I like winter, and why. The reality is that gardening is difficult work! Pleasant work, in fact. However — to borrow a phrase from the poem — there may be nonetheless a certain quantity of “toil” concerned. Even utilizing energy instruments, similar to a rototiller, there’s no getting round the truth that retaining a reasonable-sized kitchen backyard takes an excellent quantity of hands-on work and quite a lot of time.
Hager’s poem additionally jogged my memory that February is half over and that I’ve a stack of seed catalogues which were making an attempt to get my consideration over the previous month. It’s positively time to have a look, see what’s new, what’s nonetheless obtainable, and resolve what I need to develop this season.
One new vegetable I’m desperate to attempt is Honeynut Squash. Honeynut is a cross between the butternut (Cucurbita moschata) and buttercup (C. maxima) squashes, that was developed at Cornell College. I got here throughout it final fall at my native Kimberton Entire Meals retailer. I like common butternut squash, however this toddler was irresistibly lovely — I simply needed to convey one residence with me.
Most butternut squash develop to be about ten to 12 inches lengthy and weigh in at about two to a few kilos. Cooking a kind of is a dedication. The diminutive Honeynut squash develop to about half that measurement, and tip the scales at anyplace from eight to sixteen ounces. That’s a lunch for one, or a fast facet vegetable for 2. Plus, at their lighter weight, it needs to be simpler to let Honeynut squash clamber up a trellis, saving area within the backyard.
The remainder of the attraction is solely within the style. Butternut squash could be a bit bland, Honeynut, then again, has a deeper, richer, sweeter taste with none add-ons. And, it has a really skinny, edible pores and skin. To arrange, merely minimize the squash in half, take away the seeds and pulp, brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the halves cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 400 levels for 15 to twenty minutes.
“He is aware of no winter, he who loves the soil…” That line continued to resonate in my thoughts. Nevertheless it wasn’t till I believed to substitute “she” for “he” all through the verse, that it actually got here residence to me. (I’m not making an attempt to make a selected assertion, I simply discovered that utilizing my pronoun makes the phrases and the sentiment extra private to me.) Assuming that Hager’s poetic self would respect the pronoun change …
“She is aware of no winter, she who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when she is free from toil,
She plans her summer season crops, selects her seeds…”
That’s what I’m doing proper now.
Pam Baxter is an avid natural vegetable gardener who lives in Kimberton. Direct e-mail to [email protected], or ship mail to P.O. Field 80, Kimberton, PA 19442. Share your gardening tales on Fb at “Chester County Roots.” Pam’s ebook for kids and households, Large Life Classes from Nature’s Little Secrets and techniques, is offered on Amazon, alongside along with her companion area journal, Discover Outside, at Amazon.com/author/pamelabaxter.