Until I started vegetable gardening, January held no appeal. My birthday falls at the end of the month. This usually meant the surprise party being thrown for me had to be cancelled due to inclement weather.
One year my sister and I did get out, but the night ended up dull and cold. On the way home we were certain a flying saucer was following us–that was exciting.
Then I became a gardener. The low light of January no longer seems so gloomy. First off, we’re still living off of the stuff we grew last year so I don’t feel completely lazy taking things slower. I like drawing up plans. Intricate plans. Invariably I forget from year to year the rotations I decided upon. I make up symbols and notations that mean nothing to me the following January, but it’s still fun. I use graph paper and write things down in neat little rows. Sometimes I bring the drawings out in the spring to help organize the real plots, but usually I get carried away seeding. My husband calls me the broccoli Johnny Appleseed because you never know where things will pop up.
I always buy a new notebook and spend more time shoving notes, receipts and vet bills in it than writing what happened when. This is where the BIG calendar comes in handy.
I keep this in my pantry and every time I come into the house (well, almost every time) I write down what I’ve done. This is especially good for animal stuff like when I gave them wormers, when they were bred and how many eggs we took in. I always thought I’d remember the big things like births and deaths–but not so much. I think because the big calendar is sort of messy with all of the previous months sticking out underneath that it draws me into its chaos. It just stares up at me (unlike a neatly closed notebook). At the end of the year, I just fold up the pages and stick it in an envelope as a sort of record. I probably won’t ever change. This is my method. I’ll always surprise the plump little beets with some random something from the nightshade family of vegetables. I may even regret my lack of discipline, but I won’t change.