We've officially begun thinking of our garden and yard work in earnest, as you can see by the tiniest of all sprouts in the spots marked "basil". It's still a little too soon to start much else, but we figured that we'd give our herbs a head start as we practiced using our new seed trays (that come with a handy plastic lid to create a bit of a greenhouse) and our warming mat. We put this set up on a shelf in the kitchen by the sunniest window in the house, where we hope that much of our produce will get a good start for the season.
We plan to double how much we're growing in our yard this year with two more raised beds in the hopes that we not only have more space, but also that we have more leftovers to can, freeze, and enjoy through winter. And after living through one season of gardening—which was the first time I've ever helped to tend a garden in my life—I have to say that I'm much more excited for it this year because I understand it first hand. I now know how lovely it is to go outside and pick lettuce for dinner. And to make enormous batches of pesto with basil leaves that are still warm. I loved the enormous tomatoes that we grew last year and look forward to the romas that will be added to the other heirlooms because I have a feeling that they will make superb sauce.
It's still very chilly around these parts, but starting seeds, hearing birds singing in the morning, and seeing the first of the perennials starting to put out green buds is making me feel rather hopeful that the warmer weather is about to return.