Not really, I'm being optimistic. But it's just around the bend, and I can already see its green little fingers winding around in the natural world. This past Winter has been insane in Virginia! Not at all like Winter, actually. We've had about 3 days of any sort of snow, and one of them was in October, and they've all been pretty pathetic... Weird. I am not looking forward to our pending allergy season, with so much pollen already in the air. And any Climate Change deniers better watch out! I know some nervous fruit growers that are all riled up already (since January-ish) around here.... I am anxious to see how many of our Fall-planted Buttercups and tulips will have made it up and blooming this year. So far, I have one bright yellow Buttercup already out and spreading its glorious sunshiny face in the otherwise brown, shaggy early Spring front plot. I'm so happy to see all the new life poking up! Not bad for a couple of bags from Costco, and a day or two weeding, planting and mulching the sadly neglected patch of mud in front of our townhouse!
We've also tried to have a jump on Spring Cleaning here. After two years, it's really more like unpacking, and FINALLY organizing this mess we live in, a little bit. I made the executive decision that we should get jumping on it early, and use those long dark nights for painting and fixing up the place, so that come longer, sunnier days, I can take the children and run amok outside, without any sense of conflict or divided priorities. So far, so good. I've tackled that freaky front room (the wanna be Dining Room that is too small for our dining table) and converted it into more of an open Kitchen Annex and Mama Office. It's coming along famously! The Living Room is halfway complete. We got rid of the HUGE old chairs and old purple couch (sniff, sniff) and replaced them with a large, open L-shaped sofa from Ikea. We've added a few bookcases and turned the kitchen table 90 degrees to accommodate company a little easier, and it's actually starting to look like a place that WE live. Yay!!!
We've also used the Winter as a time for more experiments in the Kitchen. I've learned how to roast almost every vegetable on the Earth, and that they taste AMAZING that way!! No really. Even Brussell Sprouts, Riley's newest favorite thing ever!!! I've been reading up on vegetables and we've been randomly adding a brand new to us vegetable to the table about every ten days or so. Up this week, I have Kolrabi and Parsnip. I have no idea what to do with the Kolrabi, but the Parsnip will be tried thin-sliced and fried like chips, and also roasted with Carrots and Shallot Butter. We shall see, we shall see. If either come out anywhere near as good as the roasted Cauliflower has, I will be thrilled! (Thanks again, Margaret Hill!!!) We've also been trying to reintroduce some basics back into our menu. Our Tex Mex rotation had gotten a little thin, so I discovered www.homesicktexan.com and have been rocking out the old Austin flare!!!! God, it makes me equal parts in love with my kitchen, and homesick for Austin. DEFINITELY worth a read, and a recipe list!!!
The single thing I may be most excited about is the NEW SEED PACKETS we picked up!!! We've tried seed vegetables before, and failed on an epic scale. But this year, we've dome research, made our own supplies mostly, and are ready to try this again. We are also going to be building a raised bed for our backyard, to increase the amount of space for gardening at our disposal. And hopefully, a community plot will come up for grabs through the Reston Association. But I expect a year on that Wait List....
I am also starting to plan Camping Season 2012. I tend to favor Spring and Fall camping, with Summer reserved for sheer desperation campouts (Heat is NOT my friend). I have noted that I am most comfortable between 40-75 degrees, day and night. So, now that the days are reaching the upper 50s with some regularity, it's time to start researching and reserving campsights for the next couple of months. And I'm itching to add a few dates in Wisconsin when we head back up North for our next trip to Chicago. I'm thinking April, but possibly May....
Hope everyone out there is enjoying the last cold-ish days before the Spring Explosion is upon us!