Quick! To the Grocery for Bread and Milk!!

Well, I'm happy to report that we finally got all the outside Christmas decorations down.  Woo hoo!  Good thing, too.  Weather wonks are predicting rain this afternoon, followed by rapidly falling temperatures and snow for this evening and overnight...and more snow for Monday.  Before I dash out the door to the store (for bread and milk, of course...:), I thought I'd dash off a post.

King Alfred Daffodils
peeking out of the pinestraw
Uh oh.  We may have a problem with that weather forecast.  No, the snow isn't really the main issue.  It's the bitter cold temps that concern me the most.  You see, more than a few of the spring-flowering bulbs (photo, left) and bushes have tender, green shoots and tentative buds popping into view.  The snow actually will protect the new growth...kinda like a blanket.  However, temps going as low as the mid-teens won't help the tender tissue at all.  Not at all. 

[The Phrase Dictionary says that's where we get the expression "nipped in the bud."  The earliest version appeared in 1595 as "nip in the bloom;" the 1607 version became our current phrase.  Who knew?]

Before heading to the grocery, we headed into the garden in the Way Back to check on things there.  Of course in January, there is very little growing activity, but I wanted to see how the strawberry patch was doing under the covers.   In November (a few weeks past the recommended date), I had started two new rows with the runners or daughter plants from the crowns planted early last Spring.  I can only hope they got some roots down before the really cold weather set upon us.

Row covers over the onions
You may recall that I began using row covers to provide protection against chilly temps, in order to help extend our growing season and have a Fall garden.  Wonder of all wonders, thanks to the covers, we were able to have garden-grown lettuces (3 kinds!) and edible nasturtiums for a salad at Thanksgiving.

Now, the covers are protecting the strawberries and three rows of onions...the crops that will over-Winter.  Unfortunately, the broccoli  and cabbage plants I planted (too) late in the season appeared to be much worse-for-wear, since their row cover blew off before the last round of cold temperatures.  Sigh.  Oh well, it will be time to plant broccoli and cabbage in the Spring before we know it.  Then the joy shall return!

Starting this month, I will be fulfilling one of my goals for 2011 by doing the majority of my reporting on the garden in one of my other blogs, Gardening with the Giants.  No worries, I will still include some photos and some chit-chat about playing in the dirt here.  However, I imagine that this year will provide opportunities for more in-depth information that only you gardeners will appreciate.  (I have this image:  you roll your eyes when you see the word gardenOh Lordy, here she goes again...:)

In a previous post, I mentioned another 2011 goal:  a "resolve to keep happy," as Helen Keller said.  Now, that really is a difficult resolution to measure, isn't it?  Still, I like the way the quote from HK sounded, so I adopted it when I did my Looking Back, Looking Ahead exercise* on New Year's Day.

A more measurable 2011 goal is "walk 3 times and/or 9 miles/week."  Very specific indeed.  The reason for the specificity?  Well, Mr. T had just read me an article that discussed the correlation between walking 6-9 miles each week with maintaining cognitive (brain) function.  Hey, I'm all for that!

Winter day on the west side of Oak Hollow
My walking route is between 2.2 and 3 miles, depending on how many neighborhood coves I include, and takes me down to Oak Hollow reservoir.  I have created my Walk_With_Me playlist with about 15-18 songs (1.2 hours' worth) for my iPod, including:  "Walking on Sunshine" (the first up-tempo song in the mix...gets me going after my warm-up strolling), "We Didn't Start the Fire" (a good one to get me up this smallish hill on my route...and get the heart-rate up!), and "Walking in Memphis" (Marc Cohn's version...a great one for the cool-down period at the end).  Occasionally, I switch from music to podcasts, with my favorites being Cast On (a knitting-themed show) and Car Talk (what can I say?  I just love Click and Clack...:).  And, very occasionally, I walk to one of my audiobooks, although I typically save these for car-trips. 

Yesterday, I walked to music.  And, as you can tell from the photo (above, left), I took a mid-route break at the lake.  Doesn't it just say "WINTER," in capital letters?  All it lacks is a layer of snow and/or ice...and I think that may be on the way.

I guess I'd better publish this post and be on my way.  The bread aisle will be bare, and the only milk in the cooler will be in those tiny cartons.  We Southerners take our Snow Emergency Preparedness seriously, don't you know?

*Looking Back, Looking Ahead Exercise:
This is an exercise I suggest that my clients work through, either on New Year's Day (in place of "making resolutions") or on their birthdays (a much more personal time to look back over the past year in order to plan for the one ahead).  It's the topic of this week's post on my Coaching blog.


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