Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
the cycles of the moon
within the circles of the seasons,
the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.
~ Wendell Berry

Well … it seems I’ve been absent from here for way too long a time.  I last posted in early December and it was never my intention to take such a long break, but life sort of got in the way.  First, the holidays and then the New Year’s rush … and then the flu.  Somehow time to blog seemed to keep getting bumped to the bottom of the pile.  But, we’re back!

It’s been the time of pruning and re-digging, raking and composting.  Even here in California the garden has been largely bare — the leaves have fallen and the last blossoms dropped away.  But then there is the winter garden — this year’s experiment — new and different winter vegetables!  Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and kale in incredible colors!

winter garden

The sun is riding so low in the sky that the harsh cross-lighting almost wipes out the color some days, but the colors here in the small patch of experimental garden defy even the high-contrast sun.  It has to be investigated every day to see what new shades are appearing in the emeralds and rubies and amethysts.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
~ William Shakespeare

But then the unthinkable happens — maybe only unexpected here where our coldest days rarely break the low 30’s.

icy greens 2


Temperatures drop into the low 20’s and stay there for two weeks.  Yes, I know, this doesn’t sound so unusual for many of you, but this is California, not northern Michigan!  We simply are not geared to temps like these.  And all those beautiful purples and crimsons – what is happening to them beneath the ice?


red kale

Well, as it turns out, nothing so very terrible, after all.  The young plants are still there, strong and beautiful and tasty!  Ready for creamy soups and hearty stews.  Even the grapefruit are snug and well within their plastic sheeting.


All is well and we relax once again and plot and imagine and dream of Spring and new growth.

All winter long
beneath every snowing
guess what we saw!
—- beneath every snowing
a thaw
and a growing,
a greening and growing.
~ Native American song


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