"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Signs of Spring

My neighbor's pussy willow tree is in full... pussy? Anyway, it's soft and dove-grey and gorgeous. Pussy willows are the absolute first sign of spring, and I wish I had one here. I hear willows are so indiscriminate and promiscuous that they can be propagated by sticking a cutting in the ground and leaving it alone. I may surreptitiously clip a branch from my neighbor's tree and see if it's true.

The goats are full of vim and vigor. They have been out enjoying the sun, jumping and butting heads and generally acting up. Flopsy and Nutmeg actually jumped the back fence out of an excess of high spirits and I had to go traipsing through the neighbor's field to get them back. I still can't tell if any of them are pregnant for sure, but I'm betting that at least two, Iris and Xana, are. Both of them are looking very thick.

But the most serious sign of spring is the return of my inexplicable gardening urge. I am the world's worst gardener. Really, I suck. Plants shiver and die at my approach. In all my years of home ownership, I have yet to keep a houseplant alive longer than a year. I even killed a jade plant. Nonetheless, I have planted some kind of garden every year since I was eighteen and first had a piece of dirt to plant in. Off and on I have enjoyed some measure of success, when I had the help of decent gardeners like my dad. But even when I have to go it alone, I have always managed to scratch some form of sustenance from the earth. Last year was probably my most pathetic effort; I only planted snap peas, mesclun, and tomatoes. Oh and zucchini. Not much weeding got done, so it was really more like foraging than gardening, but I did get enough produce to feel proud of. And even to can a little.

Last fall, when we were eating the last of our meagre harvest, Homero decided that he was going to put in a serious garden. He laid out plans for a garden that would take up all of our available space: a weedy, rocky tract about 50 x 80 feet. Of course I laughed in his face. My garden last year consisted of three 4 x 8 raised beds, and that was just about too much work for me. This is a man that works 60 hours a week at a regular job. Did he think I was going to take care of his massive, imaginary garden? Ha Ha Ha Ha!

I shouldn't have worried. That plot of land looks as it ever did: bleak and unproductive.

So now it is up to me, and my vague stirrings that return every year at about this time. A ridiculous time, way too early to plant, or even to think about planting. Why, it will be May before I can do any serious outdoor sowing. But now is certainly the time for grandiose, unrealistic planning. On a slightly smaller scale than my husband. I bought peat trays and a few packets of seed: snow peas, spinach, early beets, radishes. The first wave. I'll dig up just enough dirt to fill my little pots and let the children poke holes with their adorable little fingers, and I'll feel productive and industrious, and also like I'm being a good mom, teaching my children to be self sufficient and love nature and science.

I love this time of year.


Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

I love this time of year too. I always have bigger garden plans than I seem to be able to keep up with through the whole season, but it is fun to dream!