Archive for March, 2013



Based on my experience the past three years down here along the Blue Ridge Mountains, I sowed much of the spring garden early in March: snap and snow peas, lettuce, collards, swiss chard, cold-weather herbs, and turnips.  By this time in those years, virtually all those seeds would have sent up healthy shoots and leaves.  But March this year has been a different story–much colder than usual, with temperatures in the 20’s or low 30’s most nights.  And to top it off, we got five or six inches of snow again yesterday.  Nobody’s happy about this, not even our chickens, who, having rushed outside in their usual way, rushed back inside when they saw the snow.  Later, a few ventured out into the white stuff, but most stayed close to home.


click on image above for a larger one

Since Monika’s diagnosis of kidney cancer in January, our life has been something of a treadmill of medical tests and doctor appointments, culminating in a ten-day stay in Johns Hopkins University Hospital, where Monika had her left kidney and the tumor on it removed.  Before, during, and after, we’ve both been greatly moved by the outpouring of support in the form of cards, emails, prayers, best wishes, and good vibes.  A particularly special one was the poem above by our dear friend and former colleague at Rutgers, Rafey Habib.  I’ve used a picture Monika took of the Blue Ridge mountains she loves so much as a backdrop to Rafey’s poem.  We both find it profoundly moving.