Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Animal Vegetable Miracle" : my winter life-preserver!

I know, I know- it's only January 28th! But I can't help looking forward to Spring. I am really not much of a winter person, although I do know that spring and summer would be a lot less appreciated if we didn't have some cold and snow. However, the sun is shining, the snow has melted a bit, and if I squint my eyes a whole lot, it could start to look like spring outside, right?

At least we gotten to the point in the year where it is not ridiculous to start planning what I will plant this coming season.

The Master Gardener program has been really inspiring so far. I am enjoying hearing a new speaker each week, who is an expert on the topic of the week. So far, we've covered basic plant science, and fruiting trees. I've learned a lot about plant life and plant cell structure, as well as how plants work. The fruiting tree class really provided some insight on how fruit trees are pollinated, and how many cannot cross-pollinate with a like cultivar (who knew? I guess tree experts knew, and I didn't)! Class tonight will be on Plant Soils. Woo!

The only tough part for me is that as a newbie to gardening, most of this knowledge is theory right now, until I can get to the ground and start digging and seeing some of these things for myself. I'm pretty good at retaining knowledge and storing it until I can use it- that was what I did for most of my Masters level social work classes in grad school too. I hadn't worked out in the "field" (of social work) yet so I just had to absorb the knowledge until I had a place to apply it.

I'm also re-reading Animal Vegetable Miracle- a Year of Food Life- by Barbara Kingsolver. I had started it last year but had never quite finished it for some reason- maybe because in my mind, it is also a bit theoretical until I have some plants in the ground. At any rate, AVM is a wonderful, funny, inspiring book, and if you haven't read it, I suggest you do! I love others of Barbara Kingsolver's books, including Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven and the Bean Trees, and Prodigal Summer, but I am enjoying AVM extra because it has been a personal motivator to continue the locavore lifestyle I am trying to cultivate for myself. It details Barbara and her family's move to a farm they own in Virgina and the one-year experiment they embark upon to obtain all their food from their community or as close to it as possible. The fact that they have an actual farm to do this on (although much of the group is hilly and not suitable for edible gardening) makes it a bit easier that the 600 square feet I have to use, but really, the whole book is really a fun read and makes you think about where your food comes from, who it comes from, how long it has traveled to get to you, and what kind of quality you might be sacrificing by eating food shipped from thousands of miles away.

So check it out! I actually found out that Barabara Kingsolver was my second cousin's Girl Scout leadera a counselor at the Girl Scout camp some of my relatives went to, which is pretty funny. All these years I'd been reading her books and talking her up and then I found out we're kind of connected!

Until I can plant, the MSU Extension office and Barbara Kingsolver are keeping me afloat, and I am thankful for that!

1 comment:

  1. You know, in the circle that is LIFE--your cousins in KY knew Ms. Kingsolver--went to GIRL SCOUT camp with her! She was a counselor, I believe. Keep lovin' your Mother! Your auntie ell