The first day of spring might have been in March but around here the first day of spring was yesterday. The sun shone gloriously from its perch, the air was warm, the lilac and choke cherry leaves are stretching their arms out of their winter cocoons. It even rained instead of snowed! Of course I have four loads of wet laundry draped on the clothes line now, but just imagine how fresh they will be when they dry! Nature’s fabric softener.
I could hardly get myself to stay inside. I cleaned quickly and spent most of my day outdoors basking in vitamin d. I seem to be sun operated, it charged my batteries after a long, cold winter, and I got ever so much done!
The big chickies enjoyed their romp around the yard. I locked them out of their own pen to allow the chicken pen door to remain open and inspire the little ones to take in a little sun. Nala and Sophia, our fabulous Araucanas in their fashionable leopard coats, remind me of those girls in school who were so much prettier than everyone else and so much bitchier. They tell everyone what they may and may not do. They chased any curious chick away from the doors. A few times Gretel was able to spread out in the sun, her wings spread wide, in a lounging position until one of the Araucanas decided that she had enough. A few snuck out for a few minutes but the guard girls shooed them back in. Poor Henry Higgins. He spends most of his time in the dog kennel out there hiding from the increasing estrogen levels of the female teens. Brigitta is quickly becoming one of my favorites. She runs and stands on our foot when we arrive. And she felt safe to venture outside if I could stand with her. She is the goof ball looking at the camera when I was taking a picture of Sophia. Who’d a thought that chickens would have so much personality?
Out in the garden, I transplanted the oregano and cilantro, planted six more rows of greens, and watered well (before the rain storm…). It felt good to get my hands dirty. The seeds are germinating and shoots of promising food are slowly popping up here and there. The carrots are the last to come up. I was hoping this would be my first year successfully growing carrots! The herbs are taking off and look wonderful. The bees came to visit and I enjoyed their gentle buzzing. I will not have my own bees this year. I recognized that I had taken on a bit more than I could handle. Not knowing where we will be, not having any of the equipment to prevent stings, and a general nervousness about 10,000 bees coming over for dinner, I decided to see if someone else would take them when they arrived. My young bee mentor was hoping for another group of bees but the company had sold out. So, mine are living happily at his house. Farmgirls have lofty goals, but sometimes they have to be spread out a bit. There is always next year.
Speaking of lofty goals, I sat there shaking my head at my garden plot. I have six beds that are 10×3, three beds that 5×3, and two beds that are 3×3. It may seem like a lot compared to what I could do in an apartment, but the square footage gets used up pretty quick once you plant three kinds of corn, squash, zucchini, watermelons, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, grapevines, radishes, lettuce, collard greens, kale, potatoes, peas, carrots (come up already!), cauliflower, cabbage, soybeans, three kinds of cooking beans, medicinal herbs, and culinary herbs…..yikes. My main goal is to grow enough to substantially help feed my family. Add to that market growing and I need a bigger plot! Even though Nancy will be doing the bulk of the market growing, I wouldn’t mind helping out a little and I am growing a lot of the herbs.
Then I started to see it. Look at that space just to the left of the peas….or in between lettuce plants….or in that pot over there…or…there are a lot of spaces that can be filled. I placed the oregano in the potato bed. I placed the greens where I will add tomatoes and peppers in a few weeks. Everyone will like each other. I can see what doesn’t make it, replant. Or find a foot here and there. It is doable. No long rows of the same thing. Lots of interplanting (making sure they all get a long of course) and space making! If the water wasn’t so exorbitant in this town, I would have already plowed the front yard and made a giant corn field and pumpkin patch. Our space is as limitless as our imagination.
I wanted to attack the crabgrass before it grew up to high and we got a notice from the town. But in my quest for all things non-electric, I bought a push mower last year. It is a nifty little thing, just doesn’t cut grass. I took my kitchen knife sharpener out and worked on the blades. Had the whole front yard mowed in no time!
My indoor garden survived their indoor recesses, and like me, were anxious to get a smidge more sunshine. They are enjoying their stay on the porches looking out for possible freezes, but I think they can spend the majority of their time out there now. Just as I will.
The sure sign of spring for me yesterday was the familiar whistling moped sound from the sky. And there she was. Our beautiful hummingbird has returned. Welcome, welcome Spring.