A Long, Slow Beginning

Winter is a time for sleeping.

That’s what I say to myself and to my partner when we sleep 9 or 10 or even 11 hours on a regular weeknight, or when we laze about in bed for far longer than the socially-acceptable “snooze” interval.

Sleeping so much feels luxurious and indulgent. And yet, the more I sleep, the more I want to! It’s the cold air outside, the endless cloudy days, the shortened daylight hours that keep me falling back into bed. I’m sure you can relate to this feeling.

I do enjoy all the sleep, but I’m struggling to fully embrace winter. I can’t wait for the day when the sun will rise at 6:00 instead of 7:30. I am restless to wake my sleepy farm up for its very first spring! Come spring, there will be more to do than hours of the day–even with the longer daylight hours–so I try to let my body and mind rest in winter as best I can.

The Early Risers.

The first things to wake up in the spring, without my help, will be the bulbs that I planted in October. I tucked hundreds of tulip, daffodil, and fritillaria bulbs into the ground and wished them well! Now, I cross my fingers that they sleep as much as I do these days, building up their energy to burst forth and bloom in a few short months. Some of the tulips I’m especially looking forward to are “Salmon Parrot,” which is a ruffled party dress of a flower, and “Black Hero,” which is a velvety deep purple.

If you’ve ever planted spring bulbs, perhaps in that little spot next to the front door that you pass on your way to the mailbox, you’re probably thinking, “Why on earth did she plant those bulbs so close together?”

This was news to me, too, but cut flower growers really pack their tulip bulbs in there, like eggs in a carton. This extra-close spacing leads to extra-tall stems, and extra-tall stems lead to valuable versatility for florists making arrangements. Closely-spaced tulips stretch higher, competing with each other to reach the sun. It might seem cruel, but I don’t think the flowers mind too much.

This approach also makes planting huge quantities of flowers a cinch: dig one large trench, then dump ’em in! None of this individual-hole-digging nonsense (cue: all the home gardeners cringing right now as I ruin their zen activity). And, because of all the land prep we did in early fall, the soil was nice and soft, ready to be dug for these bulbs.

Do You Remember, Tilling in September?

Sometimes, when I think of all the work there is to come, I have to remind myself to celebrate what’s already been done, like the tilling and rock-moving that made planting those tulip bulbs so easy. Though Sea Change is in its infancy, I’ve already been lucky enough to have help from many friends and family.

Tasks like cutting 60-foot lengths of landscape fabric, unloading heavy freight shipments off trucks, roto-tilling a quarter acre, and setting posts for a new fence are exponentially easier when more people help out. Thank you to Alice, Jeannette, Ben, Brandon, Evan, Jason, and Jackie for your hands-on help with projects, and thank you to all the people who have given me support and mentorship in other ways.

There are so many exciting things on the horizon and I am itching to share them with you. For now, though, I will end with this advice that I am trying to follow myself: Embrace the winter. Embrace the cold and darkness as a time for rest. Rest up, because spring is coming, and man, it’s gonna be good.

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