One of my favorite movies to watch during the holidays would have to be "White Christmas," starring the incomparable Bing Crosby. But it's not just Bing. It just might be the all-star cast with him -- including Rosemary Clooney -- Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen.
Perhaps it's the music of Irving Berlin? Perhaps it's the reminder of my mother and father who were straight out of the World War II generation (also known as the Greatest Generation)? I'm not sure. But -- as I was walking through the garden tonight -- the song "Count Your Blessings" suddenly started to filter through my head.
That's when it hit me. I'm tired of complaining about the weather. Tired of complaining about the rain. Tired of this not happening -- or that. Really -- to be honest? It's totally out of my control. I can bitch -- moan and whine till the cows come tromping home -- and it's not going to make a teensy bit of difference.
Finally -- I began to focus on the positives that this extra long shot of winter and mild spring weather have given us. The artichoke harvest for one? It continues into Infinity and Beyond to use a later movie term. I've never quite experienced an artichoke season quite like this. And as long as the weather remains cool? The artichoke garden will continue to produce babies like this.
Venus harvested these a good month ago. They were the first of DOZENS of artichokes that have been harvested since. I'll be honest. I haven't come to the point yet where I've said "ENOUGH WITH THE CHOKES!" But I'm getting close now -- so if you happen to find some artichokes at your front door tomorrow morning on the way out for work -- you've just been the target of a "drive-by artichoke dropoff."
During most years? The artichokes produce until temperatures climb into the consistent eighties. At that point -- they begin to take on that rather "tired" look and slowly decline. But with this prolonged stretch of weather? New artichoke plants are springing to the surface of the artichoke bed -- and each and every one is bound and determined to produce yet another crop.
Count your blessings...
But that's not all. Venus is bound and determined to get a fourth and fifth radish harvest out of the temperate growing conditions. Red leaf lettuce is literally jumping out of the raised beds. We shouldn't be harvesting these kinds of crops now. In fact -- the radishes should have played out a good week or two ago. But when Mother Nature gives you lemons? Make lemonade. I'll take another harvest of purple, blue, white, red and green Easter Egg radishes.
The same story is playing out across the Back 40 as our spring crops continue to produce a bumper harvest. Take these Snow Peas and Experimental Peas (a gardening gift) for example? When Venus first started experimenting with peas three years ago -- this probably represented the total output of our entire harvest.
But -- with a little experience at what to plant and when (thanks to the Handy-Dandy Farmer Fred Hoffman planting guide) -- she's been getting "better" to say the least. Color me pea-green impressed. What we snacked on for dinner tonight barely represents a fraction of what is hanging off the teepee trellis system we have in a couple of different raised beds.
During most years -- the peas would have been LONG GONE by now. We would have cleared them out of the way to make room for cucumbers -- bush beans -- pole beans and other summer crops. But our cucumbers continue to shiver and make sad faces in starter cups set on a cold sidewalk. So -- we go with what works.
One gardener has already made an interesting observation that the recent eruption of the Eyjafjallajokul Volcano in Iceland (it last erupted two centuries ago) may have dramatically altered our weather pattern -- and this just might be the start of the coolest summer on record.
I certainly hope not -- but there is plenty of empirical evidence to suggest otherwise -- such as the rather infamous Year Without a Summer.
I just hope that everyone ordered enough radish and pea seeds!!!