February second is the day we anxiously wait to see if Punxsutawney Phil (the legendary groundhog) sees his shadow. Legend has it, if his shadow is visible, we should hunker down for six more weeks of Winter. My hope is that he doesn’t see his shadow, as this means we can look forward to an early Spring.
February second also heralds Imbolc or Candlemas. Imbolc, a Gaelic festival still celebrated by many, refers to the “Ewe’s Milk” as this is the time of year many sheep are nursing their lambs. It is a celebration of fire, as the days grow longer and nature begins to waken as the sun grows warmer.
Here on Whimsical Moon Herb Farm, I find myself curled up on my futon with several seed catalogs and a rough sketch of our farm laid out next to me. This spring will be our first full year here at the farm, and at the moment, I have just the one large garden bed turned over. So, I am tinkering with where I want to put my herb beds, the three-sisters (corn, bean, and squash) garden plot, flowers, and the black raspberry patch.
The wind is whistling around the corner of the house and the fields and trees are still bare. Finches, nuthatches, sparrows, and a female red-bellied woodpecker frequent the bird feeders as I continue dreaming about my spring gardens.
February has always been a difficult month for me as it feels like my bones will never get warm again and the days are not long enough yet. I need the sunshine to fuel my batteries and to keep my spirits soaring. Browsing the seed catalogs and dreaming of the gardens yet to be built certainly relieves some of these Winter doldrums.
I think it’s time for a nice hot cup of cocoa to provide a little extra warmth and sweetness to my Spring planning!
Hot Cocoa recipe:
Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa (I use Hershey’s Cocoa), and a pinch of sea salt in a large mug. Heat one cup of milk in the microwave at HIGH (100%) for 2 minutes, or so, until hot to your liking. Gradually add the milk to your cocoa mixture; stir really well (moosh the lumps) and then stir in about 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Top with marshmallows or whip cream.