Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A book review

Two things I am taking away from this book of letters:

1. Hellebores. They're something I've only admired in OPG (Other People's Gardens).

2. A great thankfulness that Civil Rights has passed in this country.

Yes, cantankerous me: wouldn't it be LOVELY if I could just revel in these letters for their breadth of gardening knowledge? Well, whether it's simply cultural oversight of a Yankee gardener with "hired men" or a Southern gardener with "half grown Negro boy[s]"...I seriously wonder if we can really consider these two women gardeners in the sense that we understand the term. (Especially Katharine White, who never deigned to even get out of a dress and heels.) I guess instead I will blame the editor, who did a fine job of delineating the silver spoon set but neglects to mention the hired help by name. It especially galled me when the editor saw fit to mention who Elizabeth's mother's doctor was, yet in the same paragraph, the ONLY place where he's mentioned, she doesn't cite Elizabeth's gardener. "All saying things can't be done, that my yardman, Willie, and I have been doing for years without a fuss." [p. 76,Beacon Press ppb edition]

Okay, THAT is out of the way. Elizabeth Lawrence, if I were to rank them, is more bona fide a dirt digger. She wrote a gardening column for The Charlotte Observer and also had a landscape consulting business. Her personality comes through loud and clear in her letters, which describe a somewhat one-sided "friendship" between these two women. Katharine S. White (wife of E.B. "Andy" White, of Charlotte's Web fame and a lot more) was an editor at The New Yorker who on occasion wrote a mostly gardening-related column for the same magazine. She had a large flower garden at their farm in Maine.

As a historical document, this batch of letters describes well how plantgrowing moved from one of local nurseries with local specialties to national nurseries with, as we know now, nothing local. This trend was helped somewhat by Katharine's New Yorker articles about mail-order nurseries. (Katharine relied heavily in writing these articles upon the expertise of people like Elizabeth.) These letters document the loss of scent in roses, the hardiness of North Carolina daffodils in Maine, and bloom times for plants in December (!!). As such, it makes a very interesting read for those of us who're plant-happy.

These letters also follow gardening trends, especially the emergence of the horrors of DDT and the re-emergence of chemical-free gardens. I think we were all a bit horrified to read how they describe how their yards were regularly sprayed with DDT and they noticed the loss of certain creatures because of it. (It was The New Yorker that first published chapters of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.)

The letters also describe what happened in their lives, particularly in terms of illness. (It is said that the Whites tended to be hypochondriacs.) Part of me wonders if some "real" gardening, the bend-and-stretch, dig-the-dirt, spread-the-mulch sweatiness that most of us practice wouldn't have benefited these two, Katharine White especially. But then I also realize these women were very much products of their time, even though they were highly unusual by being fully employed. So getting sweaty in the garden was ONLY acceptable if they did it with their yardmen.

And that makes me wonder. Is my reaction to these women's gardens a visceral kind of backwards jealosy? I am definitely in the bite-off-as-much-as-I-can-chew camp here on the farm. My vision, of course, is much larger than my time allows. If I had a yardman, or a crew...who knows what I could do. And seeing what these two COULD do, well...

And it is here that I should mention that my husband is in this week's New Yorker. They mention his New York show, and include a photo (not online, unfortunately, but in the magazine itself). He'll be in April's Harper's, so the ghosts of the Whites are all over this house...

(Thanks again, Carol, for hosting!)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So how long can this last?

Snow: its days are numbered (projected temperatures in the 40s the rest of the week)

This morning's chores were fairly typical: Shovel the 2" of snow, then go back inside and collect last night's food scraps and some leftovers from the fridge. Find what, in all those leftovers, would be palatable to the chickens, and then go into the fridge and find some napa cabbage and chard that is past its prime. I chop this up, put it in a bowl, add the other chicken stuff, then take it all outside, along with the stuff for the compost heap.

The chickens, despite my path-making a week ago, still hate walking on the snow, but I still throw the door wide open and try to coax them outside by placing the food bowl about two feet from the door. I figure they could use the light, what little there is on such a gray day. I collect the eggs, put them in my pocket, and head to the garden shed. I grab a garden fork and then head to the compost heaps.

The one thing I do love about snow is that I can see who visits the farm. Today, at the heap, I found some small footprints: big for a housecat, small for a dog. I look closer and I see that there are obvious toenails, so it is a canis not a felix. A fox, I think: the coyotes' feet are bigger. I look at the heap. Despite all the snow this winter, the newer heap is still pretty warm, so it looks like a volcano: the top is clear. I dig with the fork into the side of the heap and pile in the takings from the kitchen. In go some citrus peels, some old (and too hot) chili, a bit of pasta (the chookies got the rest of it) and the usual vegetable detritus of onions, garlic, celery, carrot leavings. I cover it back up, but first I reach into the older, wetter heap with the fork and scoop out a bit of it to put atop the leavings.

I trace the fox's steps and see it has made its way to the shed, the icehouse and then into my car's garage. I see the steps leave again, and head down the drive and (probably) back into the forest across the road. I look at the birdfeeders: they still have stuff in them, and they've also got a lot of visitors. I look around, take a big breath, and then head back inside to my second cup of coffee and review my work for the day. Today, it's an addition to a colonial house in the Hudson River valley, about an hour and a half from NYC. It's an easy job. I'll finish the kitchen elevations today and then I will be on to the window schedule. (Yes, I DO do windows.) I sip my coffee and then make this entry into the blog.

And then I remember I need to retrieve the eggs from my coat pocket!

Monday, February 26, 2007

One kind of census*

Birds. I don't know where they've been. We leave out seed for the wild birds all year long, though we slack off in the summer as there is lots to eat. We usually see hundreds of birds, dozens of varieties. But they've simply been AWOL this winter.

Now, however, they are back. (Isn't this an awfully gray picture? I just took it so it shows how gray it is outside.) Of course not everyone goes south for the winter. And I certainly shouldn't say that "all" birds have been gone: the crows, sparrows, bluejays, cardinals and goldfinches, as well as some woodpecker types, have been seen. Now, though, they're everywhere! And wow, is the world loud with their cries.

Here is a partial list of the birds I saw this weekend at our feeders:
Tufted titmouse
Black-capped chickadee
Red-breasted nuthatch
Mourning dove
Hairy woodpecker
Yellow flicker
House finch
Purple finch
Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Red-bellied woodpecker

Strangely, the one creature we do not have on the farm are squirrels. I have seen maybe a dozen of them since we moved here two years ago. Both our old dog Alex and our new dog Penny welcome their presence. (Penny positively quakes with excitement when I say the S word.) In the area, though, we have black squirrels. They come in both small and large sizes. We also have brown, red, and gray ones. They're all obnoxious, if you ask me, but then that is because I prefer to feed feathered creatures.

*Census data is on my mind lately, with all the family research I have been doing. I have the ____ of being Irish. The Irish tend to name people the exact same name for, well, generations. I know they are not alone in this tendency. It just doesn't help me that there were, well, dozens of John Hogans that came to the U.S. from Tipperary, for example. *sigh*

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Help me! I have fallen down a hole!

Winter paths
Okay, I am officially stir-crazy. Have any of you read Giants in the Earth? I remember the husband slowly going crazy in their sod hut on the prairie. I feel that way now.

And it is not for lack of something to do. I have baked more bread than we can eat (so I have frozen a lot). I have read everything that was on my list save one book. We have watched all our Netflix movies. The house is IMMACULATE and all the laundry is clean, folded and put away. Amazingly, we have even sorted the thousands of give-away clothes that our kid has so quickly outgrown. And I am showing AMAZING restraint in holding off my seed-starting binge, having only planted the alliums, parsley- and artichoke family things.

So what have I recently done with my time? Genealogy. THAT is a gigantic hole. I suggest nobody start doing research unless you truly have the time. I was up until 3:00 last night! Yikes. Nothing like adopting a new hobby!

Oh, and we're under another winter storm warning, following about a half inch of freezing rain. Spring is certainly not just around the corner.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dear Johnny's Selected Seeds,

Why oh why did your catalog show up only YESTERDAY? My 2007 seed order is long past ordered and delivered! And you know I LOVE your catalog!

I do apologize if this is simply the second catalog you've sent, and somehow in the flurry of catalogs, I didn't see your first one. As you know, I placed a small order with you in January when I couldn't get some necessary items from Fedco. And I do appreciate your rapid turnaround: I received my package the same week I placed the order.

But I sincerely want to thank you for the catalog, anyway. Its beautiful glossy photos make me think I really do need Italian dandelion (long red stems), and your spread of Asian greens made me wish to rush to the nearest Chinatown (Chicago, in my case). And your lettuces made me drool. In other words, thank you for the green porn. I really needed it. Because with all the white in my world, this is the kind of greenery I have been nurturing lately:

Yes, those are carrot tops. Spring cannot come soon enough.

Warmest wishes,
The Fast Weedpuller.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's a white, white world here on the farm

And this time the white is not snow
So we have had a thaw. With a thaw comes the interesting phenomenon of freezing fog: hoarfrost. We woke up this morning to see beautiful frozen ice crystals hanging on all available surfaces.

We kind of knew this was coming. Last night, on returning home from dinner, we saw the fog in some areas. We even drove under it in some places (a very fun trick).

It is still chilly out there, and still foggy; it should last at least until noon.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Holy Cats! It's 47*!

Bonnie, Beatrice and Maude, experiencing coop freedom while standing atop their food bowl (yes, that's half a lemon. They like lemon.)

Yes, I think officially I lost it (if I ever even had it, that is). I shoveled a path for the chickens in their fenced run from the coop door to their condo. It was about 25', give or take.

And before you say "what's the big deal," please remember we have over 2' of snow here. And their pen is about 42" high. So I did the duck walk in the chicken run with the manure shovel.

Once I was finished, the darned biddies just looked at me, kind of saying, don't you know the snow is, well, cold? Why would we walk through the stuff? Why, indeed.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Poor Ma Ingalls

Snowy the sheep in less snowy days

So. This snow has a downside. It is called "Frozen water pump." For the past few days, I have had to schlep water, two gallons at a time, about 300' through knee-high snow all the way to the sheep's water trough. Why only two gallons at a time, you ask? Well, because their gate is frozen open in a way that your average winter coat-wearing woman can shimmy through but the average full-pelted sheep cannot. Thus, I can't carry (or lift over the gate) anything fatter than a gallon at a time, either.

It has all been rather humbling. Poor sheep! But it's almost a month until spring...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lake, big lake

Tom and Penny went to the beach yesterday.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More unharvested items

Unharvested? Well, harvested, but under- or unused. I was looking for something to replace the tender salad greens in mid-summer, so I thought amaranth leaves and malabar spinach would do the trick. Ick. But so pretty, right?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The unharvest


I was flipping through the garden photos yesterday. (It's good to look at greenery when you've been seeing a lot of white. Tom just said, as he is now going out for the daily plow, that I should start calling him Sisyphus. The stuff just keeps rolling in front of him.) I found this fennel, and it made me wonder: does anybody else NOT harvest things?

These fennel fronds were home to loads of swallowtail butterflies in our Minneapolis garden. I can't say I saw any caterpillars here, but I did see a ton of other critters that enjoyed its seedheads. Plus, the things were just pretty: on the ferny side, and 3'+ tall... I did harvest a few young fronds for salads, but I just couldn't bring myself to whack down a whole bulb.

So this season I am planting a lot more than just 4 plants. I do love fennel. Maybe this year I can eat it, too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's day

It's yet another snow day from school today. This means I won't be getting 8 hours of work done...

Speaking of my last post and my love of foxgloves, another flower I love (on this day of love) is an annual: snapdragons. Sorry the picture is so crappy; the flowers are pretty ubiquitous here, and I grow lots of seedlings yearly, but...well, I have had snapdragons come back from year to year, too. Certainly not all of them, but they are considered to be "tender perennials." Mulch, baby, mulch, as you can kind of see in this photo. This was taken in mid-November; they love to bloom despite the frosts.

And Jane of Snapdragon's Garden said that foxgloves are wild everywhere in Scotland so she thinks it's funny that they can be fussy in this country. She left a great tip though (and she's a professional flower grower so she'd know) in that if you cut off the flower spikes before they come to seed, they will last a few years.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Late-night thoughts

I received the last of my back-ordered seeds yesterday (soybean Beer Friend, Par-Cel cutting celery, skirret and Kablouna calendula mix). I woke up pretty late last night and had some trouble getting back to sleep, and my mind kept going over my current seeds, and my seed-starting past.

In that past, calendulas were overlooked. They were too dry, too low. I was an "eyecandy gardener" in my city house, and concentrated mainly on tall-growing perennials that tolerated some shade. I had a pretty nice setup in the basement by the gigantic octopus gravity furnace where the growlights were suspended on adjustable chains above a nice raised table large enough to grow hundreds of seedlings. Often, my friends were the beneficiaries of many of those baby plants, and at the time, I had a lot of gardening friends.

Minneapolis in the early-mid 1990s was a place that young-ish types like me (an architect with a tiny salary) could buy decent, older houses in hip neighborhoods, and fix them up. (Now, well, like most of the country, you can't buy anything there under $300K: hardly a bargain.) So those young-ish homeowning gardeners got my extra seedlings. I remember well going to my friend Jason's house and just falling over at the size and amazing color of the foxgloves I had given him: these puppies got to be 3.5' tall, and I remember one was a deep burgundy. I ADORE foxgloves. And they never grew for me in my shady yard!

Now, well, I can grow foxgloves. I have the sun. And I will be growing hundreds of seedling again, but selfishly, I will hoard them all!

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Normal" winter

This season is progressing NORMALLY: 1-3" of snow per day, but the temperatures have been low. You can tell it's late in the season because it's fully dark finally at 7:00 p.m.

I am still debating if I need to shovel a walk for the chickens in their pen. They've been literally cooped up since the white stuff fell too deep for them to walk through. Luckily, there's no pecking order. They get along quite well.

But we all miss the sun.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

On seed starting

The usual way: direct seeding

Last Sunday I got out the gloves and began to move dirt. It's the first week of February, you're probably thinking, aren't you being a little hasty? Well, for stubborn alliums it's not too early. I planted leeks, two types of short-day onions, and scallions. So far, these seeds' requirements are relative warmth and wetness; no light is needed, so they're sitting tucked under a radiator on the kitchen floor.

There are other things that need an early start, too. These are mostly perennials who're long to come to seed but also long to stick around once they're up and going: artichokes, cardoon, angelica, sea kale, and Italian parsley. I also am seriously considering planting the pepper seeds, too, though I am resisting the idea: these nightshade-family plants also like having hot feet, and I feel it's too early to mess with the grow lights and the cat-free room required to grow them. But I may need to just get over it and get them planted. I will probably start these items next weekend.

Our last frost here can be anywhere from March 30th-April 30th, but a May 16th frost last year wiped out my in-the-ground tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, romanesco, cauliflower and okra...all lovingly coddled under grow lights for weeks inside then two protected weeks outside then one week in the ground and whammo. Not much you can do (and it's not nice to fool Mother Nature). I was able to salvage some tomatoes, but everything else died. Sigh. Not my happiest gardening week, that...

If you are interested in learning when you should start your seeds, first find out the date of your average last frost. You can look this up generally on the web, but the best sources I have found tend to run through the local branch of your state's agricultural school or through your county's extension agency. Google "average last frost date in My State" and you should get close, though. There are helpful seed-starting guides out on the web; for veggies, Organic Gardening has a decent chart that you can find here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Only one creature here truly loves the white stuff

Penny. The snow is deeper than she is tall, though, in many places. (She's an Australian cattle dog.)

So I took the kid and dog out yesterday (it was a balmy +6*F) to alleviate a bit of cabin fever. I put the snowshoes on, and I tried in vain to find M's plastic sled. I think it is buried in a snowbank. SO I found her old sled, the cute wood one with a padded seat and backrest, and tramped around the yard and down to the pond. She fell out four times, twice head-first into the snow. The sled is not the easiest thing to pull around.

That, my friends, was about as much fun as a hangover. But the cocoa afterward was fun.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Still snowbound

The topiary tree (just a lightning-struck white pine)

M is off school again today and is driving us a bit crazy. We're still stuck at home, though I did venture out yesterday for life's necessities (milk and printer ink: such is the modern world). It is VERY cold. Too cold to go out and play, certainly.

The sheep are even hampered. I am half tempted to shovel some trails for them: they have "taken to their beds" in their shed and venture out only a few feet to their water. And our chickens have accepted that their coop is the new paradigm. I think they're probably light-deprived. It's quite toasty in the coop, though. I have simply made sure they get LOTS more house goodies, like fresh greens and kefir and grapes.

We're also dealing with some frozen pipes. When we bought the house, I thought, hmm, pipes running up the outside wall of the house: maybe that's not a problem in Michigan, but we wouldn't do that in Minnesota. Well, it IS a problem if Michigan has Minnesota weather, it seems. It's the cold water that services both bathrooms. So we're making do with the bucket brigade to the toilets and very, very warm baths. The kitchen and the washer are not affected. It all feels very Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Refrigerator tag

Hmm. I got tagged by Burdockboy to, strangely, show the inside of our refrigerator. Pretty slim pickings in there; there's usually a lot more milk. And strangely, I am noticing that you can't really grab-and-go with anything out of here, with the exception of the fruit and the carrots. It all needs to be made into something else, and a lot of the things are vaguely inedible (sourdough starter, anyone? How 'bout a gob of ghee?).

My family doesn't really care for leftovers. Fresh lunch and dinner, yes. They're spoiled.

Someone else said that the best advice they ever got was "Make friends with the cook."

I'm not going to tag anyone, though I do think it is an interesting sociological study...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How a gardener gets her hands dirty in February

A very wise man told me that if you're going to make two loaves, you might as well make six.

We'll eat two loaves this week, we'll freeze two, and we'll give two away. I got 100 pounds of organic local flour (50 lbs whole-wheat hard red winter and 50lbs hard red spring with germ, sifted) last week, so I will be loafing for a while...

Oh, and we're still under "blizzard watch"/blowing snow/windchill advisory.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Yep, it is still snowing. Add a bit of wind (actually, more than a bit) and some really cold temperatures (+10*F) and you have yourself a blizzard!!

What a great day to stay inside, bake bread, and do a ton of laundry. Wishing all of you warmth.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I'm here for the vegetables

Michael Pollan wrote the cover story in The New York Times Magazine last Sunday. Confused about healthy food? Read this article. Otherwise, take his nine tips to heart, or rather, to mouth.

1. Eat food. Though in our current state of confusion, this is much easier said than done. So try this: Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. (Sorry, but at this point Moms are as confused as the rest of us, which is why we have to go back a couple of generations, to a time before the advent of modern food products.) There are a great many foodlike items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food (Go-Gurt? Breakfast-cereal bars? Nondairy creamer?); stay away from these.

2. Avoid even those food products that come bearing health claims. They’re apt to be heavily processed, and the claims are often dubious at best. Don’t forget that margarine, one of the first industrial foods to claim that it was more healthful than the traditional food it replaced, turned out to give people heart attacks. When Kellogg’s can boast about its Healthy Heart Strawberry Vanilla cereal bars, health claims have become hopelessly compromised. (The American Heart Association charges food makers for their endorsement.) Don’t take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health.

3. Especially avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number — or that contain high-fructose corn syrup.None of these characteristics are necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but all of them are reliable markers for foods that have been highly processed.

4. Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. You won’t find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmer’s market; you also won’t find food harvested long ago and far away. What you will find are fresh whole foods picked at the peak of nutritional quality. Precisely the kind of food your great-great-grandmother would have recognized as food.

5. Pay more, eat less. The American food system has for a century devoted its energies and policies to increasing quantity and reducing price, not to improving quality. There’s no escaping the fact that better food — measured by taste or nutritional quality (which often correspond) — costs more, because it has been grown or raised less intensively and with more care. Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is shameful, but most of us can: Americans spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their income on food, down from 24 percent in 1947, and less than the citizens of any other nation. And those of us who can afford to eat well should. Paying more for food well grown in good soils — whether certified organic or not — will contribute not only to your health (by reducing exposure to pesticides) but also to the health of others who might not themselves be able to afford that sort of food: the people who grow it and the people who live downstream, and downwind, of the farms where it is grown.

“Eat less” is the most unwelcome advice of all, but in fact the scientific case for eating a lot less than we currently do is compelling. “Calorie restriction” has repeatedly been shown to slow aging in animals, and many researchers (including Walter Willett, the Harvard epidemiologist) believe it offers the single strongest link between diet and cancer prevention. Food abundance is a problem, but culture has helped here, too, by promoting the idea of moderation. Once one of the longest-lived people on earth, the Okinawans practiced a principle they called “Hara Hachi Bu”: eat until you are 80 percent full. To make the “eat less” message a bit more palatable, consider that quality may have a bearing on quantity: I don’t know about you, but the better the quality of the food I eat, the less of it I need to feel satisfied. All tomatoes are not created equal.

6. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. Scientists may disagree on what’s so good about plants — the antioxidants? Fiber? Omega-3s? — but they do agree that they’re probably really good for you and certainly can’t hurt. Also, by eating a plant-based diet, you’ll be consuming far fewer calories, since plant foods (except seeds) are typically less “energy dense” than the other things you might eat. Vegetarians are healthier than carnivores, but near vegetarians (“flexitarians”) are as healthy as vegetarians. Thomas Jefferson was on to something when he advised treating meat more as a flavoring than a food.

7. Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. Confounding factors aside, people who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than we are. Any traditional diet will do: if it weren’t a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn’t still be around. True, food cultures are embedded in societies and economies and ecologies, and some of them travel better than others: Inuit not so well as Italian. In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to how a culture eats, as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and alcohol?!) so much as the dietary habits: small portions, no seconds or snacking, communal meals — and the serious pleasure taken in eating. (Worrying about diet can’t possibly be good for you.) Let culture be your guide, not science.

8. Cook. And if you can, plant a garden. To take part in the intricate and endlessly interesting processes of providing for our sustenance is the surest way to escape the culture of fast food and the values implicit in it: that food should be cheap and easy; that food is fuel and not communion. The culture of the kitchen, as embodied in those enduring traditions we call cuisines, contains more wisdom about diet and health than you are apt to find in any nutrition journal or journalism. Plus, the food you grow yourself contributes to your health long before you sit down to eat it. So you might want to think about putting down this article now and picking up a spatula or hoe.

9. Eat like an omnivore. Try to add new species, not just new foods, to your diet. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases. That of course is an argument from nutritionism, but there is a better one, one that takes a broader view of “health.” Biodiversity in the diet means less monoculture in the fields. What does that have to do with your health? Everything. The vast monocultures that now feed us require tremendous amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep from collapsing. Diversifying those fields will mean fewer chemicals, healthier soils, healthier plants and animals and, in turn, healthier people. It’s all connected, which is another way of saying that your health isn’t bordered by your body and that what’s good for the soil is probably good for you, too.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Winter wonderland

View from the ice house atop the tractor/plow: Work ahead

So the white stuff keeps coming down. Again, I love it. But I had a few moments over the last couple of days that've given me pause. I, for one, consider myself a decent driver, ESPECIALLY in snow, but...I have gotten stuck, a LOT. Then I looked at my tires. Mystery solved: the car needs new ones! Lucky for me, it's a small car, and I can usually get it out of the toughest jam.

But thank you, all you helpful strangers out there: people DO appreciate a push, or simply the courtesy of asking if we stuck-in-the-snow folks need help. Sometimes we do!