What The Rabbit Said About the Garden

He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees. – Ben Franklin

Broadway, Virginia; February 7; 38 degrees; 8:40 pm

Sitting in my favorite coffee shop eating a 3-inch carrot-cake cookie, topped with about half an inch of sour cream frosting. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening. The grocery store was packed a while ago. The weatherman’s calling for a little bit of winter weather in the morning. Good thing I didn’t need milk or bread; selections were pretty limited. Stockpiling for potential bad weather seems to be almost an instinct. I doubt that too many of us are truly susceptible to being snowbound, though. Those who do live on back roads usually come pre-packaged with hefty SUVs or 4-wheel-drive mountain trucks. So what is the psychology behind laying bare the grocery shelves when the forecast hints of snow?

My exciting news of the day came in the form of a couple of quarter-inch, two-leaved spinach plants peppering the top soil on my first raised bed. I had a little tête à tête with a bright-eyed bunny hovering on the edge of the brush pile. We talked a little bit about briar patches, the upcoming winter, and about the 120-pound Golden Retriever who lives in my house. We also discussed settling rights and the fact that I owned the garden patch (as much as any of us ever own land).  He seemed to understand that I didn’t mind sharing the spinach and arugula as long as I didn’t really know I was sharing. I cautioned him to be subtle in his movements and shrewd in his dealings with my garden. We parted on good terms, I think.

The full moon is magnificent tonight. The Other Almanac says February’s full moon is called the Full Snow Moon. Traditionally, we tend to have more snow this month than any other. So far, we haven’t seen much of a winter. Maybe things will change.  I’ve also heard that the moon this month has been called the Full Hunger Moon. Animals and humans alike often have difficulty finding food on the harsh and frozen ground. I guess the bunny was just planning ahead.

I suppose real farmers are beginning to feel the tug of the outdoors and sense the lure of spring planting. As a theoretical farmer, I’m also conscious of this seasonal turning point. I just don’t feel the weight of the labor that is about to begin. I will till my little patch, grow my bowls full of vegetables and try to keep the rodents at bay. I’m quite content to supplement my meager harvest with bushels of produce from the Farmers’ Market. We theoretical farmers always have a backup system.

Published on Feb 7, 2012

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