By Phyllis Galowitz

December was a month of three seasons; it started with unseasonably warm weather, followed by pouring rains and overflowing streams, and then, a sudden drop in temperature turned the rain to snow overnight. We woke in the morning to a glistening fairyland. Branches were crystallized, lawns blanketed in pure white and, in-between, black streams forced their way through. It was truly magical and surely at least as beautiful as the colorful gardens of summer. I’m so glad to live in a part of the world where we see every season’s garden.

The winter garden has some advantages. No lawns to mow, no weeding, no bugs! I like the laziness of it, watching the scene from inside, looking out. Of course, it would be difficult if I had to go to work every morning and had to stand on the corner, in the cold, waiting for a bus, but I’m lucky to be past that part of my life. I’m lucky that the driveway gets plowed when the snow is deeper than 3″ like magic, before I have to take the car out, and I’m lucky to have the most wonderful neighbor, who shovels a path from his house to mine, just in case of emergency!

There’s nothing growing in my garden at this time, but we can manage to find beautiful vegetables from other gardens, not too far away, that manage to arrive in Andes looking as if they were just picked. I bought some Swiss chard with different colored stems (saved for another meal) and rich, dark green leaves and decided to make a vegetarian, stir-fry with them to maintain their beautiful colors. You can substitute the tofu that I used for shrimp or chicken or anything else that you’d prefer, but this was how I made it and it was delicious!


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