Sunday, December 30, 2007


It's a cold gray day here. I'm sitting in my favorite blue chair in my home office with a cat on my lap. It's almost the new year. Happy New Year! That means a new garden to plan. The seed catalogs starting pouring in during the fall. I piled them in a stack on my bookshelf next to my blue chair. I'm not quite ready to start the planning process, not quite. I'm still recuperating from the fall clean up.

Of course there's always time to stop and take a picture of a pretty fall scene.

What happened to fall? There's practically no blog entries for fall, nothing for November (why am I pointing this out?) and certainly this will be the only one for December. Well, it's not that I didn't have anything to say, that's for sure. I even took pictures. I had pages written in my mind, but I couldn't get into the mood. When I started this blog, I told myself I'd only do it if I felt like it. I don't ever want it to become a chore or something I feel I have to do. Fall is probably the busiest season for me. There's the garden that must be ripped out and prepped for next year, there's tons of leaves to clean up, there's seeds to save, and on top of that, it's my busiest season for work (but I won't talk about that here). So fall is a blur for me. I just try to get through it as best as I can. I did take time to get some pictures here and there. I went apple picking too. If you've never gone apple picking, I highly recommend it. You just haven't eaten a really great apple till you've picked it yourself and stand next the the tree as you take a bite. I planted an apple tree of my own in my yard a couple years ago, but she hasn't produced fruit yet. Fingers crossed, maybe 2008 will be her year! I need to get one of the signs below for my garden, maybe change it to I Pick My Own. Don't want random people wandering in off the street.

"Pick Your Own," says the sign at Blue Jay Orchards. Thanks I think I will. Abundant apple trees don't disappoint, apple picking is a great fall activity.

One good thing about winter, I start to miss the garden. Why is that a good thing? Because by the end of summer and fall, I'm ready for a break. Especially after putting the garden to sleep for the year, one of the less fun tasks. Now I have to rely on other means of getting my daily intake of veggies. I can't just go out and pluck a tomato when I want it or a few handfuls of green beans for dinner. Although I do some canning, I don't do enough to feed us full time. It's mostly spaghetti sauce, salsa, and pickles on my shelves.

All that remains from the 2007 garden.

It really gives me a feeling of pride to see my bountiful shelves stocked with the fruits of my labor. Within those jars, a tasty meal or snack, that started out as just a seed less than a year ago. Many steps and much time went into making those jars of food. To me, plucking one from the shelf is much more satisfying than one from a supermarket shelf.

So, what does a gardener do during the winter, beside look at seed and plant catalogs? Why wood working of course! Don't see the connection? Well, me neither. To be honest, wood working was not a hobby I chose for myself. Hubby was interested and so I sort of went along for the ride. Just as hubby helps me with my hobby, I help him with his. I do like to design the things we build. But something changed for me this winter. I got tired of being the helper. It's really sort of boring holding this board, move that board. See? Boring. So I decided that I wanted to become a wood worker in my own right. Learn the tools myself from top to bottom. My goal is to be able to use any and all of our tools without explanation. I've given myself projects to do. Not big giant ones like our first project of a king sized bed. But smaller ones like these cutting boards. Not terribly hard to make on the difficulty scale, but still a good exercise in using the tools. The result, something useful and beautiful (to me at least). These maple butcher block cutting boards will last for years.

I made 4 cutting boards and kept the smallest for myself.

The other 3 were gifted to others, such as my neighbor (click here to see her blog).


Kate said...

Hi Jennifer. I am Kate - one of the other winners in the KGI contest and I just got the email from Roger and thought I would have a look at your blog.I love to read about what other kitchen gardeners are doing all over the world and your blog looks like it will be one to watch.I live in Adelaide, South Australia. Check out my seedsavers blog at and I look forward to keeping in touch.

Jen said...

Thanks Kate! Glad you stopped by. I'm looking forward to reading your blog as well. Happy New Year!