The Coldest Hen
Spinning In 2013

Austin Winter, Brassicas and Our Lady of Mache

I grew it!My first brassicas

We're riding the rollercoaster that is winter in Austin. One night will be in the mid-20's while the next night is in the 40's. It's not easy to prepare the garden with this sort of fluctuation in temperatures. Before I wrapped up the beds I lopped the heads off of the cauliflower and broccoli. I couldn't be more proud. I've never successfully grown either. It was a lot like collecting the first chicken egg. Sure, I've seen eggs before - and cauliflower and broccoli - but they've never been a result of my care and tending. They were all the most beautiful specimens ever!

They were the most beautiful. Superlatives are the heart's swell, aren't they? When customers at work tell me that their dogs are the best dogs, I believe them. When I tell my own dogs that they are the best, it's true. I follow up by explaining to our dogs that that is the miracle of the human-dog relationship. There can actually exist many bests. The sentiment is always right and true.

I bundle the dogs up in their winter coats on the coldest mornings and we go out to the garden to peek under row covers and to knock the foggy surface from inside the plastic dome that covers the lettuce. I look down to the lettuce below. The dogs stand by waiting for the good news. I report the condition and we move on.

Garden wrapGarden wrap-up

   This won't last long. Soon spring will be here. The Sunshine Community Garden plant sale will take place in March. Tomato plants will be purchased (Purple Cherokee) and planted and fed and watered. Blossoms will emerge and fruit will set. Another season to revel in.

Covered upLettuce bed

The other day I saw a video clip of a horrible car accident. I didn't expect what I saw or I wouldn't have watched it but since seeing it I've been very cautious while driving. It's made me mindful of how quickly this little earthly sojourn of mine could end. When I was in grade school, the nuns told us that if you died while wearing a brown scapular, you would be ensured a place in heaven. I wore mine for what seemed like forever to a child; A few weeks.

Last night I ran an errand and when I reached into my pocket there was a pack of seeds. Mache. It gave me a profound sense of comfort; More than the scapular ever did. I thought to myself that should I drop away unexpectedly I hope to go with a pack of seeds in my pocket.


After reading this Michael said, "The Pope better not read this."

"He doesn't read blogs," I replied.

"Sure he does, that's all he does. It's why he's too tired to stay up and say the midnight mass anymore."


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Absolutely beautiful brocolli & cauliflower! Congratulations.

Seeds (a packet of life) are much better than a brown scapular any day.

I'm always scared when I'm driving. Always. But if I go that way, I look forward to seeing those who've gone before me.

Nina Potts

I thought it was because he was too busy learning twitter.

Well, if you died with seeds in your pocket and no one found your body then maybe the seeds would grow into plants... which is a strange image/idea, but I thought it was nice... except for the corpsified part...



Your imagery reminds me of a Frida Kahlo painting, Nina. I love Kahlo's work. Eventually roots will embrace us all.

Michelle f

many bests, indeed. all true!

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