Well, I suppose I COULD write a post about the joys of not posting...but, it's snowing, I've been browsing through seed catalogs, and I'm instead going to write about my favorite things about buying seeds in the dead of winter.
1. The pictures. Even though the pictures of oversized peas, tomatoes, squash and spinach glistening and bursting out of the page are practically cliche, and are in most cases the exact same photos that were in the catalog last year, and besides OBVIOUSLY consist of the rankest type of food porn--I love them. My mouth waters. My mental kitchen fills to the brim with luscious vegetables--piles of tomatoes, bowls full of peas, shelled and unshelled, bouquets of cilantro and basil. I imagine stepping out to the garden and loading my arms with piles of flowers and vegetables. I start to think I need stripey eggplant and golden cucumber, even though my summer garden barely has room for the basics (tomato, basil, and zucchini), even though I don't actually LIKE eggplant all that much. I start to think that all of this bounty will be in season at the same time, just like in the catalog (I even think that I'll actually be able to use fresh tomatoes and fresh cilantro at the same time and make a decent homegrown salsa! hahahaha!). I start to go a little crazy, in other words. I love going crazy.
2. The plans. This time every year I get out the measuring tape, march out into the snowy, muddy yard, and start planning my garden beds. In my wake drift thousands of scraps of paper, all with indecipherable sketches of the backyard. Inexplicably, I am loathe to throw any of these scraps away, and tend to gather them up and stuff them into files. They're VALUABLE, man.
3. The kids. Sporadically they like gardening, and I try to encourage this as much as possible by letting each of them choose something out of the catalog (retail: the shortest way to a child's heart. Alas.) This year they pooled their resources and decided to buy an herb garden "kit"--this is one of those products that consists of about five seeds, a couple of plans, and a really nice photo, and costs eight times as much as the seeds by themselves. I kept my comments to myself, though (except to ask "Oh--do you EAT herbs?").
4. The wait. Right now the garden is all anticipation--and as much as I do love planting seeds, enriching beds, staking tomatoes, and all the other puttery chores that come with it, anticipation has the value of not actually taking any time (except of the time-wasting variety), and also not any disappointment (why in the Sam Hill didn't any of these seeds SPROUT?)