Sunday, December 12, 2010

July 25th, 2010 – Mid-year

July 25th, 2010 – Mid-year
“It’s like an early spring morning!” – exclaimed a man stepping out of the house first days of January, in Virginia. “How horrible spring must be around here”, I thought. It was freezing cold, with streets covered with ice. I had been having miserable days in the East Coast during the Holiday season. Being a guest at somebody else’s house was not my idea of good vacation. It started with dinner: store bought salad and roasted chicken. No warming food such as boiling creamy soup, thick piece of grilled steak, and perhaps some fried something. What I really missed was the whole combination of salad-rice-meat-cooked veggies, and why not, soup. I couldn’t stand the smell of comercial Italian dressing over wilted leaves and some darkened shredded carrots. Taking the risk of being rude, next day, I refused to eat the cold cereal breakfast and run to eat a hot bowl of Asian noodles covered with dark sauce, fresh cucumbers and mung bean sprouts. I felt well nourished until next meal.
All this memory was evoked by the scent of white flowers in a “just like an early spring morning” down in Brazil, on my farm. Of course, it is not spring, but winter. Winter of average 25⁰ Celsius, plenty of sun and dry wind.
We had months of low level of rain, few days of cold weather, and mostly sunny and dry. My vegetables didn’t grow as lush as last year. Leafy greens don’t grow well, turning dark and though, seeding early, before reaching their regular size. I had been bringing veggies from somebody else’s farm, in exchange for English conversation meetings.
I have chicory every day. The wild type, even though it is not really wild for us. I had never seen this kind of green in America. But it is very popular in Brazil. I love to eat finelly cut with sliced white onion, and seasoned with olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lime, and salt. It is a kind of salad that it is good with food, just like hot peppers. It is not like lettuce that we can eat just that. It is slight bitter with somewhat fibrous texture. It needs chewing.
The payback of sunny and dry winter is that white flowers are blooming everywhere. They not only bring that sweet scent in the air, but plenty of nectar and polen for bees. Yes, I care about what kind of flowers are blooming now. I learned that bouganvillea, pretty but no nectar. It’s almost like a sterile woman. Inviting on the outside, but empty inside. Bees won’t need any white sugar syrup any longer. Maybe my bees will starting making wonderful honey that I can collect sometime in September.
Mid-year and I have already concluded my Beekepping course. My Organic Horticulture is progressing slowing, had we transplanted seedlings today. I have lettuce, kale, beets, arugula, cauliflower, brocoli, green onions, parsley by the hundreds. Several yards of raised beds, professionally built. They don’t look like my garden around the house. The distance between seedlings was meticulously marked. I have now the big responsibility of keeping these greens alive after I almost killed them for not watering enough or more often in the greenhouse.

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