Okay, okay, I have one thing on the brain. And oh, how much it has changed from the one thing that was on the brain when I was in my twenties...!
Last year, I ordered seedlings from The Natural Gardening Company; they're organically grown, and no GMO crops. Everything except the peppers did really well, and the peppers were my fault because I planted them too early. And they did all bear, so they weren't a total wash or anything. I just placed this year's order, and I'm ridiculously, prematurely ecstatic. They won't come in until May 4th at the earliest, but that doesn't matter!
I've ordered eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes again (may I recommend the Brandywine, Juliet, and San Marzano tomatoes, and the Fairy Tale eggplants?) but I've also ordered some things I've never grown (or had) before, like sorrel and Noir des Carmes Melons. Sorrel keeps creeping up in things I'm reading, so I figured what the heck. It is supposed to be good in eggs, salads, soups, etc. The melon is like a canteloupe, apparently, but is not so large.
This year I decided to order some of my herbs from them as well. I've had trouble finding good Greek Oregano around here, so that's in the basket. I also bought Foxgloves in the lovely shade of apricot. Is it May yet?
You know, the only reason I make it through February and March is that I'm teaching poetry to the kids. I use poetry with them all year--as our beginning of class reading, to spur thought/writing, to tie with something else that we're doing--but the big reading/writing/exploring unit is at the end of winter. The timing is good, because it often coincides with things like my first robin sightings, the lone purple crocus in our yard poking up his little head, and the blooming of the hellebores. It also coincides with my absolute desperation to be in the garden, so I can channel that into my writing. Most of the poetry I write (all genres, for that matter) comes in February and March. After that, I'm in the garden and the writing slows down considerably.
I live for our poetry study every year. There is something about watching fourteen year olds realize that poetry doesn't suck--not only does it not suck but it's AMAZING--that makes everything else recede temporarily into the shadows. And the writing that the kids produce during this time is inspired and inspiring. Teaching poetry teaches kids:
-to be "precise and concise" as Sara would say;
-to use figurative and sensory language;
-to think about how their writing sounds;
-to write for multiple reasons and audiences;
-to be kinder, gentler people;
-that even if you don't like to read really long things, there are still things out there to read;
-that they can write;
-that when they're overwhelmed, poetry can help get it out;
-to listen to each other;
-to be brave;
-do I really have to continue the list? Okay, it also teaches punctuation, vocabulary, imagery, the importance of word choice...
(Just cause I'm not sure about how the legality works, the tomatoes are from