While waiting for the thaw, find your seeds

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By Cheryl Steenerson

Hot chocolate is cheap! Hats make your hair look good! Boots are the fashionable footwear of choice! All good things that I can think of to make winter more positive in my brain. Think of some for yourself. February is typically the worst weather month for us, so let’s try a shift in our thinking, to make it less miserable.
I’ve actually been breaking a sweat outside.
Of course, I’m dressed like the Michelin Man and hiking up my hill on snow and ice, carrying a 40-pound backpack tends to do that to me.  It certainly is getting me in shape and I get an up close and personal view of Mother Nature’s beautiful landscape.
All the while, I’m thinking that come hell or high water, this year I’m getting those cedar trees that line the drive cut down. The more sun it gets, the sooner I get to drive up. I always thought maybe I should keep them there to stop the truck from going over the bank, when we’ve had bad weather. But I’m not daft enough to drive up it when it’s that bad, so what am I waiting for?  
Speaking of waiting, you better hurry up and stock up on long underwear, before they restock the shelves with bathing suits. On the bright side, the gardening stuff should be hitting the shelves soon. If you didn’t stock up this fall, you’ll soon be able to pick up some seed starting mix, to get those vegetable plants started indoors.
The seed catalogs are online, in case you didn’t get one you wanted in the mail. I love Seeds of Change, Totally Tomatoes and Territorial Seeds. If you are a seed saver, you can also use Seed Savers Exchange to barter for different varieties.  
Remember that seeds need warmth. Once they sprout, they need warmth and light.  The local hardware store has everything you need to set up an indoor growing station. You could rig up a PVC pipe stand to hang a small florescent light. If you put it on top of the refrigerator it will keep the tray warm. Plug it into a timer (set for 10 hours of light) and all you have to do is pull down the tray to water occasionally.
The dogs sure have enjoyed playing in all this white stuff. They especially enjoy tracking it back into the house. What the hey, it’s only water. It cleans their coat, a little.  I did take advantage of that 60-degree Sunday to give them all a good brushing outside. Now, there was a mess. The fur was flying everywhere. At least it gave me a visual break of watching colorful things float on the air, instead of all white.
We do have more white to get through. Remember those 10 fogs we had in August?  Ben Franklin equated them with the number of snows that would dump on us in the winter.
Let’s hope he’s wrong this year.
Now, put on your positive thinking caps and let’s will this winter away. The cold has killed all the bad bugs it can kill, making life on the farm this summer a treat. We keep adding more minutes of light each day, so minute-by-minute we are getting closer to green growth and warmth.  
In the meantime, stock up on hot chocolate and invest in a beach magazine.
Then, go start your savings account for next winter so you can spend it someplace warm. You can still get my column online! Happy Growing!

Cheryl Steenerson is the gardening columnist for The Anderson News, and she can be reached by email at paysteen@shelbybb.net.