As I look outside into the cold gray sky, I remind myself that it is probably sunny and 80 degress somewhere in the world.  With the advent of modern flight, I could possibly be in that sunny warm place within 24 hours if I'm willing to pay enough money.

I was California born and raised, and moved to Washington about 5 years ago.  My first winter here I discovered the joys of 6 months without any sun light.  I learned a new word “sun break”.  That's when the sun breaks through the cloud layer on an otherwise indistinct gray mass of a day.

When I purchased my house in Bellevue, one of the biggest selling features was the size of the back yard.  From my perspective, it looked like a park.  My lot is 10,000 sq ft, but boy does it look big.  In the back, there was this nice garden patch off to the side.  At the time, there were remnants of strawberries, tomatoes, squash, cabbage and the like.  It turns out the the original owners of the house owned a nursery as well.  They put in tons of trees, both fruiting and otherwise, as well as the nice vegetable garden.

Through various circumstances, I was not able to tend to this garden until last year.  The year before that, I had put black plastic down to choke out the weeds.  Last Year, Yasmin and I rolled back a 10 foot section at a time and planted stuff.

We started off with 4 roma tomato plants.  Those turned out to produce a bumper crop of more tomatoes than we could possibly eat, can, or turn into sauce.  Good thing I'm a certified canner, but that's another story.  Then we planted some bush beans.  At first it was just 4 or 5 plants, and I didn't even notice them amongst the rapidly encroaching weeds, until 4 or 5 weeks later.  Then we moved on to some carrots, more bush beans, Dahlias, snap peas, fava beans, and the like.  At the end of the summer, I put a raised bed into a 6x4 section, and we planted spinach, kale, butter lettuce, and something else I can't remember.

We added a bing cherry, and a rainier cherry next to the italian prune plum tree.  This brought our total fruit tree count to about 13, including a few apple and pear trees out front.  Add to all that the line of 20 rose bushes, the many azalia and rodies, two large patches of grass, daffodils, and you have quite a lot of yard to take care of.  Being the original child laborer responsible for yard work, I feel obligated to actually perform yard duties myself.  When I was in California last, I actually hired a gardener.  I should probably do that here as well, but it's just so much fun.

Most of the time we were harvesting, or thinking of planting new things, I would constantly tell Yasmin, “next year, next year”.  We said this about adding new trees, planting more flowers, and planting different varieties of vegetables.

Well, yes, the skies are gray outside, but spring is definitely on the horizon.  That means we have to start buying our plant seeds now so that they can sprout in time to set out in about 6 weeks.  So, this weekend, we're going to go to the Maltby cafe, and then we'll head on over to Flower World.  We'll pick out about 50 seed packets, get a number of peat pots and whatnot to grow them, and lay out our season's growing calendar.  We'll also see if there are any trees worth buying, in particular some pears to replace the spindly little ones in the front.

Spring is not in the air, but it will be in our feet.  We spent the last couple of months doing pre-spring cleaning around the house, detreasuring and whatnot.  We'll spend the next couple of months preparind to turn our little garden into an explosion of flowers and edibles.  Our dream is to be able to have a “garden party” where people can simply stroll around the garden pulling food directly from the plants.  I'll let you know how it goes.