Buying Seeds in Winter

Pitney Farm Cutting Garden, oil on board by Tjelda vander Meijden

Pitney Farm Cutting Garden, oil on board by Tjelda vander Meijden


It snowed last night.  In the gray of early morning, I’m looking out the window at the white domes capping every bush, branch and fencepost. This is the time to go to the on-line seed catalog, its cover a riot of yellow, purple, red, orange and green.  An explosion of color to combat the insistent white and gray beyond my windowpane.  All I have to do is look at the pictures and already I am dreaming of the piercing tang of dill, the full flavor of the strangely-shaped heirloom tomatoes, the tantalizing acrid smell of the clown-wild marigolds, the sweet fragrance of roses,  the hard red balls of the radishes.  Shall we do watermelons this year?  Listada de Gandia eggplant?  When can I start turning over the good, brown earth?

How Farmers Measure Time


I was listening to a BBC podcast about cider orchards in Herefordshire and it set me thinking about how farmers measure time.  One of the farmers said he didn’t feel that he owned the farm, he saw himself as its steward for his children and grandchildren.  Rows of pear trees that he had just planted to commemorate the birth of 3 new grandsons would be bearing fruit for the next generation of the family and the generation after that.