McZENA – Though we’re not ready yet to be picking our daffodils and crocus, the vagaries of winter weather are giving us some encouragement.
This muse has been eyeing developments in the front lawn, and in the back yard at the farm.
Out back I built two raised beds … clever little things that make harvesting a snap, but not so much a snap to plant.
Out front, little green tips of flowering things have begun to show.
Yesterday I went to the raised beds and spotted garlic tips. This will be coveted German extra hardy garlic. This stuff is what I used to make my spreads, boursin and hummus, and a couple of others.
There is no garlic like this one.
I’ve also spotted the first lone bike rider on my county road. Today, Sunday, there was a crew of about a dozen riders on the Funk flats. (Funk is the metropolis on State Route 95 between Wooster and Perrysville).
Seeing riders is always a good sign.
Bike riders frequently travel to the country to labor along the winding, up-and-down roads.
Riders are guys and girls who are serious about their efforts. They have on all the correct gear: stretchy pants, the right shoes, helmets.
I wish them well.
This is the season of the year where I start yearning.
It seems about right to be sitting on the front or back porch. It is a sunrise, sunset kind of situation.
From the front porch, a red sunrise can be seen.
In the back, sunset.
This is the time of year that reminds me of some great seasons in the past.
In the old days, I would travel to various locations to downhill ski.
A lot of this means being willing to really freeze, and to travel to places far away to catch good runs.
In my days at the Des Moines Register, we would travel to Colorado — usually to Aspen — where we could play with the mighty.
Because my job there was covering the Iowa Legislature and all things political, I had to do that kind of skiing when the legislature was not in session.
So it was off to Aspen — sometimes Vail — in January or February.
After Iowa, I lived in Michigan for a while. Skiing there was not so hot. They didn’t really have slopes.
So I convinced a friend to travel with me to Austria to ski.
I found a site describing skiing in Zell am Zeem
(am Zee means on the water, zee).
The mountains there were indeed big.
The year we went there it was this exact time of year.
We found out the Austrians there had a sense of humor.
This would be Mardi Gras time in the United States.
There, it was “Fasching,” and you would have a fest to go with it.
We walked around the village square one day, and there was this dapper-looking gentleman, with a false nose, handing out schnapps.
We of course, honored the gentleman by sampling his wares.
Though we are still in February, we are at the start of a holy time. It is Advent.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, wasShrove Tuesday. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.
I recently discovered another phenomenon about this time of year.
Something I had purchased to honor the Christmas holiday has a life of its own.
My Christmas cactus has bloomed again.
For you – two treasures.
My bulbous nosed man in Zell am Zee (with schnapps), and my cactus.
A sharply-dressed Schnapps sharer in Austria,
It’s the last week of February, and the Christmas cactus is blooming.
Louise Swartzwalder is a freelance reporter. She covers the Bellville, Butler area for the Galion Inquirer