20 March 20XX +1
My Dear Lucilius:
Today, so my calendar tells me, is the Spring Equinox.
The Equinoxes do not have the power that they did in days of eld, when calendars were largely a calculation of sun and stars. Even our modern society continued to at least denote the Solstices, as much for the traditions and traditional celebrations that went with them as much as actual event themselves. But the Equinoxes were calendar place holders, remnants of an older era where mystics stood in the early morning, calculating stars and sunlight.
I have written before of my question about how time will be calculated at some point going forward. Sure, my phone has a calendar embedded in it – as does my computer – and as long as those are charged or can be charged, I can know the date. But even those will fail at some point and even if they did not, do individual days matter as much?
We have hashed a lot of that out before of course, and so it is less of a matter for a letter and more of a note in passing. More importantly, it is the Equinox – for me, the traditional time to start really getting going on the outside garden.
The weather, as you may recall here, is just as prone to snow in late April and early May as it is to be warm, so starting things in the greenhouse is a must. This year is a little different of course, as more than ever before, I really need things to grow.
Leafy greens (because it is still cool, of course) – Lettuce and cabbage (the cabbage to make sauerkraut of course, although I will need to find a longer term supply of salt). Garlic and onions of course. The asparagus just grows outside of course, although I will need to trade something for a load of manure to put in the beds this year. Potatoes (I need the ground to thaw out a bit for these, of course). The tomatoes will be started early as well, as many as I can grow this year – although I will need to improve my drying technique some as the dehydrator is effectively a paperweight at this point. I have quite a collection of pepper seeds from over the year as well: red, green, jalapeno, Anaheim. I will plant them all.
I grow beets, although to be honest more because they are good for me than the fact that I really like them (borscht is a treat of course, but I will most likely be absent sour cream this year).
There are other vegetables I enjoy – like cucumbers, for example – that I will have to hope someone else is growing and will trade for.
My fruit trees have always been limited (I am a gardener, not an orchardist). I have managed to hold together a dwarf lemon and lime tree through years only by planting them in pots and moving them into the greenhouse, or even inside, during the winter. That I am aware of, I am the only one locally that has made an effort to do this and so these may be valuable; I can swap for apples and peaches and pears.
The wheat and rye will finish their second spurt of growing soon, so I will need to figure out what I will plant to regenerate the field. I have some clover but not enough – perhaps picking out clover seeds is in my future?
The overriding concern that haunts all of this is the one that I indicated earlier: this year, more than ever, I need things to grow. Really, we – the small community I am in and the slowly re-establishing connections with other local communities – need things to grow. It has been less than a year since everything shut down and there is still “food” in the old sense of the word, but it too will expire or be conserved for true need. This is the Year of Transition; by next year it will indeed be “Root, Hog, or Die”.
Sigh. I suppose I shall need to embrace beets all the more.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca