The snow gave way quickly and just as quickly came the green.  The greenhouse went up just in time; the plants, some of which I thought must have died, buried under several feet of snow for months, poking their green sprouts out of the yet still cold earth.  This is no miracle; it is Spring.

The frogs in the back pond reappeared after a long hiatus, and frog eggs line the shallow pools in the back “roads” on the property.  I’ve seen moose tracks and more deer and turkey tracks than I care to count.  The fox is about and I hear the hawk’s screech almost everyday.  The garden is waking up and the plants stir in their pots anxious to get in the dirt.

As always Spring brings anxiety: some plants got burnt up in the newly built greenhouse (my bad).  But, most are fine and I kick myself for not putting spinach in a month ago.  Every Spring I forget what I remember the previous year.  Perhaps this is part of Spring too.

Small buds appear over night on the Birch, the Maple, the Oak and the Cedar and Spruce trees seem even greener than normal.  The fireplaces are cold and everyone is outside.  The wind blows the glorious warmth around and the leaves, freed from the snowy prison, take flight.

We all feel a bit more free in the Spring.  Perhaps Spring is when happiness gets a chance to shine, just for a little, to fly around with the leaves and rid itself of the heavy weight of winter worries.  A new start for an old, old cycle.


Sage Advice


It hailed today and luckily the tomatoes that I planted out were covered by the hoophouse I built around them. I learned my lesson last year, and in years before: never trust nature to do what you want it to do. I know that I will learn this lesson many times to come, but the lesson never comes easy.

The hops were troopers; I believe that they are the marines of the plant world: nothing phases them. The rhubarb was sheltered by the large bank of bushes, and most of the seeds planted out last week have not come up. I hop the newly peeking asparagus shoots are OK.

The bees finally had a time of it on their cleansing flights after so much grey rainy weather that we’ve been having; that is, before the hail set in. I had put out a swarm capture box as I was having an inkling that there was a swarm around that had been trying to get into one of the hives. They had had no luck, and so I put the box out, wondering if they’d be interested. I think they were, but it’s too early to tell.

Lots of hard work in the garden these days for all of us. It’s not nature that is a taskmaster as she simply doesn’t care. It is the hopes and dreams of canning tomatoes, making salsa and rhubarb jam, freezing kale, brewing beer, making apple sauce, putting up pickles and beets, juicing plums and crabapples, picking fresh carrots and digging up potatoes. It is pesto with your own basil and tea with your own honey. It is all of these things and more.

This time of year is both hopeful and hellish; everything seems so fragile and yet so much is riding on it. This time of year is the start of catching up. Farmers and gardeners alike play “catch-up” from now on out. The weeds will come, wasps will attack the bees and plants will die. It’s all out there in the mysterious future as are the hopes and dreams of those who try to understand the soil and the plants that come out of it.

As I said it hailed tonight and probably took out a lot of folk’s work. I can almost hear the profanity even if we did need the moisture. There is more where that came from. We all know it. Buddha supposedly said, of nirvana: figure it out yourself. I think that such advice is sage (good in sausage and olive oil for dipping bread). And so, I hope that we all figure it out. But for now, I’m off on an adventure of my own, and wish you all the best that your hard work will offer on yours.

Every Spring


Every spring I put small seeds into small containers filled with dirt. Every spring some of those small seeds “miraculously” sprout into small plants; all reaching for something bigger. This year I am trying an array of plants; some of which are new, and some of which I have been saving from previous plants in previous years. It is this saving of seeds that is truly the cornerstone of growing food.

The Dester tomato seeds from one of last year’s tomatoes were the first to sprout, is the biggest and all of the six seeds from the fruit has now come up, and continues to grow at a truly admirable rate. The newest of the seeds seem shy, poking their small leaves from the soil slowly. The garden awaits and the seeds are willing.

I have started all the seeds in my hothouse. This year I built some homemade warming tables from a few pallets I got from a local hardware store. Covered in black plastic and sat on buckets, the heater placed under the tables provides the needed heat and the green netting draped over the large glass covers provides the needed cool. A balance, which is in the end: life itself.

I water from the fifty-gallon drum that I collect water in. The water is green, dirty and filled with time and patience. It is nature and somehow I must believe that there is balance in the liquid muck. The system has worked so far; the microcosm of life beginning and I look in upon it on a daily basis thinking that I am in control, but realizing that I am only a caretaker.

This year holds surprises that I have yet to discover. A new irrigation system to put in and try; additional beds and paths, new plants mean new beginnings and failures that mean new endings. There is a cycle here that is reminder of the greater cyclical nature that we are all a part of. To lose perspective of this is to lose track of the truth.

I am not the first to say this, but gardening is truth. I am not the first to realize this, but we do not control nor do we own; we are custodians and we loan a bit of time to find out what we can do and what we cannot do. This knowledge comes one plant at a time; one day a year when we notice the slightest bulge in the soil and begin making our plans.