Well, it seems that winter is indeed a slow season for farmers, even farmers who don't actually farm yet. The fact that we're on pace for the coldest winter in 20 years around here doesn't help, neither does that fact that we're a little cash strapped this month (c'mon IRS....). A need to conserve cash and fuel has left us with not much to do but make plans for the year, eat a lot of soup, bake a lot of bread (props due to MBG of uptown oven, whose long distance coaching advice is already invaluable) and catch up on some tv series that we missed the boat on (Mad Men is single-handedly responsible for irrepressible urges to sometimes drink scotch in daylight while brooding, or wear heels and lipstick around the house to do laundry and make beds).

I was jolted out of my semi-hibernation last week, when seed catalogs began to show up in the mailbox. I love these things. The excitement of the newly available melon varieties!! The hysteria induced by the heirloom tomato variety that promises to be both cold hardy and juicy-sweet!!! After a few days of fawning over the pictures and descriptions, I have circled varieties, decided how many plants of everything I want, and finalized a garden plan, complete with calendar of events and a foot-by-foot, color-coded description of what goes where.

Perhaps I am going a little overboard...we're talking 51 (!!!) different varieties, from practical yellow storage onions to the blue potatoes and rainbow carrots that the Big Man insisted on. (Um, and not counting the herbs. Or *cough* the perennial garden....) Even so, this represents a herculean demonstration of restraint on my part -- I have forsaken kohlrabi, fennel and red orach to a future garden.

The garden plan makes the countdown to spring official and immediate. We have a month to build some indoor infrastructure...seedlings start taking over all the southern-facing windows in early March.