Tuesday, March 29, 2011

baby plants and iowa envy

Downtown St. Paul today.  From  http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/2011/floods/
Right now we have snow on the ground and the rivers are flooding.  So I can't walk to Harriet Island  on my lunch break in downtown St. Paul.  Looking at the NOAA map, it's clear that the snow ends pretty much exactly at the Iowa border.  It wouldn't be so bad, if it hadn't been like this all month.  So I assume that as soon as you cross the state line heading south, you'll start seeing green grass and leaves on the trees.

Maybe not, but this much winter is making it difficult to think straight.  The need for spring, for something new and green is so strong, that every morning waking up to frost on the windows is physically difficult.  Now the rivers are flooding and that should be a sign of spring, but there's still crunchy snow on the ground in most places.  We're sparing Iowa this way I suppose- not sending them all of our floodwater at once- not inundating Decorah and Dubuque and Davenport, but sending them just enough to make the evening news interesting. 

Look at the Iowa/Minnesota border.  The snow is in an almost perfect line (http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov)

So we got out this weekend to see the Como Conservatory.  It's always spring or summer there depending on what room you happen to be in.  The place was packed already at 10:30 in the morning, so we clearly weren't the only ones with this idea.  This time of year they have all of the spring bulbs forced and on display- lots of tulips and hyacinth, as well as azaleas and other things I can't recall now.

What mattered was the smell.  As soon as we walked in, it was overwhelming.  Mostly the scent of lilacs, although there weren't any lilacs there.  It was a big sensory rush of springtime, all being soaked up by pasty white people in sweatshirts who look like they've had enough winter already.

the flower room at the como conservatory

 My daughter asked me why the statue wasn't wearing any clothes.  I didn't have a good answer.  "It must be her bath day", I told her.  But she thought that the water was pretty cold for a bath.  And why would she take a bath in a tub full of goldfish and pennies?  I really didn't know the answer to that. 

baby plants- March 29
The other thing that helped offset the cold weather was the fact that the veggie starts are starting to grow!  The Opalka tomatoes are taking off, as are the onions.  No sign of the watermelons or hot peppers yet, but they're usually slow starters.  The basil is already looking crowded, but I let the kids plant it, and wasn't very careful with portion control, so I guess we'll have some baby basil in a salad here soon.

I'm planning to swap some seeds with a co-worker this week, including some more watermelon and maybe some tomato seeds.  I'm not sure what I'll do with them all really.  I may have to save some for next year.

The maple sap has stopped flowing entirely for almost a week now.  With the colder weather, it's like a spigot was turned off, and we haven't had anything to boil for a while.  Which isn't all that bad.  We just bought a new (energy-efficient!) refrigerator at the Warner Stellian's sale and-- it doesn't work. At all.  And our old fridge is gone.  So I put buckets of snow in it the last few days. The repairman came today, and apparently it's leaking coolant and can't be fixed, at least not here and now, so we hopefully will have a new one soon, but in the meantime all our food, including maple syrup slowly gets a bit funky, and not in a James Brown kind of way.

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