Spring dreams

It is 51 days until the Chicago Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

The temperature was so warm out today that I took off my coat while I helped Ron change a tire on the Insight. While I was getting breakfast this morning at Sonic, I watched a trio of sparrows play under the building’s canopy. We have something coming up in the front flower beds that looks like periwinkle but probably isn’t. We’ve never had periwinkle out there before, anyway.

There were only two signs of life in the garden:

1. Honeybees

Honeybees

The girls were working today, feeding on the sugar water Ron left next to their hive. There aren’t many clustered outside the hive in this picture, because I shot it just at sunset, when the bees were coming in for the evening. Earlier in the day, you would see a lot more activity.

2. A promise

Okra pods

I gathered some dried okra pods. The stalks in the garden are taller than I am, and the pods are completely dry. Baby okra (which we harvested this summer and stashed in bags in the freezer for winter gumbo) tastes wonderful, but once it gets bigger than your thumb, it’s practically inedible. If you miss a pod and it gets big, you just ignore it until it goes to seed. I have had extremely good luck growing okra from seed. I don’t even remember where I bought the seed I planted three years ago. Probably either Seedsavers Exchange or Eisler Bros.

Anyway, okra grew really well in the St. Louis area, and it grows really well here, just half a planting zone south. This variety is Clemson spineless, which produces dozens of gorgeous ruby-throated, pale yellow blossoms every day. The blossoms turn into pods in a matter of hours, and if you don’t check the plants twice a day, you’re sure to come out the next morning and find pods that you overlooked that have already gotten too big to eat.

Just one forgotten pod will produce more seed than I could ever hope to have space to plant in my garden. There are many pods out there right now, so if you want to plant okra next year, e-mail me at sundayjohn66 at mac dot com. 🙂

I love warm winter afternoons. They’re a nice reminder that spring really will get here some day. While I wait, I am dreaming of spring and working on some plans for next year’s garden, which I will unveil in the near future.

Emily