We have snow and ice on the ground. The roads were worked on for a couple of days in our neighborhood, making it possible for me to drive them in my car. Prior to that, the dips and potholes made it impossible in my low-riding grandma car. But my husband’s 4WD truck could make it, although it was interesting! And this morning we woke to the winds. And the clouds. And the forecast for 3″ of snow this weekend, most of it landing on Saturday. Oh fun!
There comes a time, living in the far north, where you long for spring. The dripping of the melting snow is a welcome sound. Actually seeing sunshine is a treat and we all get excited to wear just a sweater and sunglasses. And you can see the buds on the trees, just waiting to pop into green leaves. And then nature says, “Not so fast! We have more in store for you!” A friend in Oregon gets excited when it rains for days because her well is filling up and she knows she will be able to water her garden! Up here, snow pack is good because the melt goes straight into the ground and the soil is that much richer for it. In Alaska, our dirt is amazing. We have not over-farmed and leeched the soil of its richness. In this climate, we also have glacier run-off, filled with mineral rich waters that further enhance our soil. I was surprised the first time I saw a glacial river – it looked like greenish milk!!
Even though we are in for another bout of ugly weather, we are planning ahead. I am organizing what I hope is a good garden plan. Most of it is in my head, but I will be translating that to paper. This situation with Russia/Ukraine is causing ripple effects downstream, so to speak. The exporting of 40% of the world’s supply of wheat and corn has been blocked by this situation. Two of the largest fertilizer plants in the world were burned to the ground. (Coincidence? I leave that up to you). Fertilizer is crucial to food production. Worldwide food production. These political skirmishes have wide ripple effects. Food prices, and gas/oil prices, as well. With this trucker convoy taking its place worldwide as well, getting what we do have to where it needs to go, becomes problematic. I am not against what they stand for, not in the least. However, living at the literal last stop on the supply train makes me far more sensitive to the issue than someone who lives where goods are in abundance and the local grocery shelves are always full. Up here, if the barges don’t make it, we will literally not have a single pat of butter – anywhere. It is no joke. Planning your garden gives you insurance and peace of mind. We will be able to eat right from the garden and preserve our extras. We will be able to share with our neighbors and help our community. Gardening with others in mind is a healthy thing to do.
When we organize our garden this year, we are going to focus on the things we love to eat, that are easy to grow, and grow well in our climate. We have a short, but intense, growing period. There are months when the sun barely sets in 24 hours, so the plants have lots of time to soak it all up, growing far larger than their southern counterparts. This year, there will be far less cabbage, more leeks and onions, as well as more herbs. An herb garden can grow year-round in your house. We have shelves by our southern window in the dining room, and plan to institute a year-round garden this year, especially since there are grow lights hanging over them all!
This world is in chaos. So much is on the cusp of change. And some of that change may be hard to deal with. Russia is returning to the gold standard. Perhaps the US is planning that, too. What will that mean? The plandemic is proving to have far-reaching implications for those who supported it. This week, with Pfizer publishing their documentation, showing 8 pages of side effects they KNEW prior to using their jabs, should cause indictments. The documentation shows mRNA and DNA effects – forever altered in those who took their shots. The fallout of this plandemic is going to be felt for decades. Infertility – will my grandchildren be sterile? Will their lifespans be affected? My heart aches at the thought. However, I can simplify all this information by focusing on what I can do. I can share knowledge with others. Skills I may have that others many not know about. I can plant food. I can help to encourage others to do the same. Victory gardens! Entire neighborhoods getting rid of lawns and planting food! Just imagine the bounty. We could feed each other, without bothering to go to the store, but for the bare necessities you cannot grow or make yourself.
There is very little you need from the store. You can make your own soap – and once you experience handmade soap, you will not want to go back to store-bought. You can make your own butter. Ice cream. Bread. Potato chips. On and on the list goes. We can live without much of what has become easier to purchase. Yes, it is a lot more work. Think “Little House on the Prairie” life! It is beyond satisfying, though. I was so excited when I was able to make a meal with everything I used being sourced locally. I buy grains (to grind myself) locally. I buy my meat from local farmers. We have saved boxes of potatoes out of the garden. I have cabbage, leeks, onions, rhubarb, and much more, all vacuum-sealed and frozen. I have pints upon pints of tomatoes processed into a plain sauce, as well as quarts and pints of salmon. We have two freezers we try to keep full. We have cases of water. We have gas cans full. We bought freeze-dried foods in bulk. I bake bread (when I am in the mood, because I found an outlet for fresh bread – not gonna lie) and I have the grains to make the bread stored in 5 gallon drums in my pantry and the garage. Sacks of rice. Lots of dried beans. The list goes on and on. I do not want to be caught unprepared. I go to our local store, Three Bears, which buys in bulk for the people in the bush areas of Alaska from Costco, to purchase things like toilet paper in bulk. Lots of what I have stored is locally sourced. I hate supporting big box stores and Amazon, if I can help it. A friend recently said they were buying up coffee…because who can survive a crisis without caffeine?! Great idea!! My next bulk purchase, for sure! LOL!
So even though we are experiencing a longer winter than I would like, we are looking towards Spring – the sights, sounds, and pleasures of gardening – as well as just being outside without coats! Ha-Ha! There is something priceless about walking barefooted through your garden, wiggling your toes in the soft earth. Even 5 years ago, I would never walk barefoot in the dirt. I just wasn’t raised like that. This past summer, I spent hours upon hours in my garden, bareheaded and bare-footed. It was glorious. And it went deeply into my soul. I was never a gardener before last summer – not a serious, food growing, gardener. Oh I planted my dahlias and beautiful ferns (I love ferns), and other flowers – and they were gorgeous. But there is nothing like walking among your carrots and leeks and tomatoes, and smelling the aroma of growing foods. And the flip side? Eating all that glorious goodness throughout the next year.
So even if the storm clouds are literal or figurative, there’s a way through them. Definitely pray. Put your trust in God. But plan ahead, too. Storms do not last. Life settles into its routine. But just think of a bountiful table, feeding your family and more. Don’t let the current of politics and posturing delineate your life’s details. Be proactive. Pray – plan – plant.