I know they’re in big trouble but I do so love the Post Office. I was sitting around the other day feeling a bit out of sorts (February does that to me) when I went to get the mail and found three packages waiting for me. I love packages anyway but these were really special. The first was my bos of Tattler canning lids. I had ordered them weeks ago from Markdown.com (half-price and free shipping) and I was beginning to despair of them ever arriving. I now have a good supply of lids. I don’t can all at once. I can all the time so I rotate through my lids. I may do 50 jars of apple sauce in October, 50 jars of tomato sauce in August and 50 jars of beef in December but I’m using jars of food every day. I probably bring at least a dozen jars back downstairs every week. This allows me to have few jars on hand that I would if I was canning everything at once. Now that doesn’t mean that I won’t be getting more jars and lids. I will. I consider them to be more valuable than cash but At least I know I can can all I want without having to resort to disposable lids.

The next treat was getting my package of squash seeds. After some discussion with Bruce, I think I have a plan. I want to get the seeds in the ground as early as possible. I lost hundreds of pounds of squash during a hail storm last year and then the flooding from Irene took even more. I feel squash deprived. So here’s the plan. I’m hoping to start the seeds indoors in early April. I’m going to use fairly big pots so I can transplant without damaging the roots. I will get a good load of compost on the squash plot as we grew corn there last year and corn is very hard on the soil. I’m only going to plant one squash per hill instead of the usual three because I need these to be the best nourished plants possible as I need enough squash to eat, share and save seed from. Then I’m going to protect the soil with my Wall O”Waters cloches. The weather has been so nuts that I don’t trust a late frost to carry off my transplants. I will baby these plants along, paying special attention to squash beetles. I like the way Carol Deppe manages her harvest. She opens on squash, eats a few meals from it and freezes the rest. The next time she opens a new squash and freezes what she doesn’t use. That way, she uses up the stored squash before it has time to go bad and has a freezer full to get her through the spring and summer when she might otherwise lose some to rot. It seems like a system that works.

The third thing we got were pollen patties. Our poor bees are hungry. This winter has been a killer for them. First they lost the fall flowers because of Irene. Then we have had so much warm weather that they’ve been far more active that usual and have eaten up their winter stores. We could just feed them sugar water but there is no nutrition in that. The pollen patties are a much better food source. We lost a few hives this year and had to order a lot of new bees. We are trying the top bar method with some of the hives. I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.

I just finished a new book. The Parable Of The Sower was quite good. I was hoping to read the sequel but I read the amazon review and it looks to be very violent. That just isn’t for me. I enjoyed the fist book because it had a hopeful theme and it was possible to imagine a positive ending. I think it best for me to leave it there.