Officially, as of tomorrow, there will be one month left of winter down here at the bottom of Africa.
Yet I doubt we'll see Spring springing up with any eagerness this year. We've had little rain, only a light dusting of snow on the mountains, and more days of still sunshine than storm. Good for the work we need to do, not so good for the water levels come summer. The worst winter weather is likely still on its way. The windows still mist up with sleep-breath at night, and as soon as the sun dips it gets very very cold. Unfortunately we're also living in a house that needs a bit of attention when it comes to damp-proofing, with a large expanse of cold cement floor in the living area and high ceilings that cause any heat to disappear very quickly.
I'm a summer chick. I don't do well in extended cold periods. Where everyone else is throwing off their jerseys, I'm adding layers. The most unsexy (yet warm) clothing appears at bedtime, and I crave every ray of weak sunlight I can get.
A recent spot of good weather saw me setting up office outside for the morning:
I suspect that table will see more of me and my laptop as the year progresses... :-)
At the same time I'm craving summer food. It's all good and well to braai in the corner pictured above, while semi-protected from winter rain - but it's MUCH better to not only braai while summer's hanging around, but also braai the tastes of summer. I had the unfortunate experience of watching the Food channel at lunchtime while eating leftovers, and with the northern half of the planet out on their decks with the barbie fired up, it leaves those of us in mid-winter feeling a bit left out. Summer-ripe tomatoes, fresh green herbs, gigantic bursting-with-taste peppers, and flavoursome meaty stuff for my favourite carnivore... eish.
But you know me (well, some of you do!). My brain doesn't like to sit still - and here I am, mid-stride in winter, contemplating summer.
Specifically, what I can achieve with my little back yard, and how soon I can start. I've been wanting to try those hanging tomato plant things for years - this year I have somewhere to hang them. I have a very hot sunny corner that the herbs will love, and a self-watering misting system all round to keep them happy. There's a bar counter that would do well for an edible potplant or two against the wall, and the cool, damp corner for things that like that kind of environment.
My landlords have landscaped the "garden" (ie non-paved section) with a variety of ferns, arums and such, but there's still room to bring in the tastes of summer, and have a spot of "let's pick supper" going on.
And this year we have a marvellous entertainment / summer eating spot available in our new home. A place to sit, a place to make a fire and cook stuff, and a place to simply hang out and work in. All this protected from the usual raging south-easter wind. I'm looking forward to making full use of it.
Bring on summer, I say. Meantime I'm getting ready to meet it head-on.