My second official act of gardening of the season occurred Saturday when I dragged the chicken tractor to the garden, rerouted the fence, and let the three hens have free access to the garden.
Three very happy hens.
We acquired these birds at the tail end of summer, so this is our first spring with chickens. Seems like the perfect time to incorporate the birds into the seasonal machinery of the garden. With their continual scratching, hunting, and pecking, they will eat the bugs and prepare the ground for planting.
My first official act of garden happened two weeks ago when my daughters and I started our onion seeds in the basement under lights. I love the way these perennial rituals act as a yardstick. My youngest (almost 2) stands on the milk crate that my oldest (4) has stood on for the past 2 years to see the top of the seed-starting table but now no longer needs.
Soon we’ll be planting peas.
Too busy in the garden to write many blog posts. I suppose if I adhere to the “picture is worth a thousand words” rule, I should be OK.
Be sure to check out my new Nighttime Gardening video.
I wish I had the patience and time to sit in my basement and watch my seeds grow. Wow, that sounds incredibly boring. OK, so maybe I’ll wish instead for some time-lapse photography equipment so that I could witness the glory and wonder that I assume surrounds the breaking through the surface of soil by the meek yet powerful tomato seedling.
Like a sunrise or explosion. Or some kind of mathematical miscalculation or a statistical long shot, the tiny seed does it again, bursting onto the scene with the newness and grace of a baby antelope: one moment is birth, the next is running for its life with the herd.
Am I being over-dramatic? Do I attach too much significance to the lowly germination of a seed? I think not. I’m still in awe. And hopefully always will be. Me: the perpetual gardening simpleton.
On a larger scale, I am always humbled and silenced by that slow yet fast springtime creep of green over the hills in the distance. The trees look so soft and furry, mostly green, but sometimes reddish, with little dollops of white, yellow and pink from those flowering trees: the cherries, magnolias, and dogwoods.
Sometimes I wish spring would last all year. But as George Harrison sings, “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, a cloudburst doesn’t last all day: All things must pass.”
But while I’m wishing…I’d also like to wish for one of those electric cars. Hey Chevrolet, give me a Chevy Volt. Hey Nissan, give me a Leaf. Seriously, I think giving the online editor at OG an electric car would be a smart PR move. My commute to work screams out for an electric car. I would like to expunge gasoline from my life. Think about it.
On my way home the other day, I saw this sign: Beer cheaper than gas. Drink, don’t drive.
Which reminds me, when the slugs start decimating your greens, put out little cups of beer. They’ll get so excited by the prospect of free beer that they’ll forget all about your lettuce or young tender broccoli plants. Learn more about trapping slugs with beer.
With wide-open windows comes waking with birdsong. O, the sweet chattery tunes of spring birds in the country and it’s easy to lie in bed and let the morning progress without getting up. Who needs to get out of bed? I suppose I do.
The sun is just now breaking through the trees, the yard is glowing warm and twinkly with dew. The crab apple is about to burst in flower. Wisteria buds hang heavy on the vine. Tulip poplars are light green and the maples are red. Spring arrives full force now and soon I’ll see the May Apples open their umbrellas and the ferns unfurl their feathers. Hostas are poking through the mulch like determined red soldiers. The daffodils are holding steady. There’s no turning back now.
What does it all mean? I wish I could stay philosophical and expound about the timelessness of spring and how nature’s rebirth is in essence our own rebirth and how I am always filled with a sense of wonder and awe and thankfulness at this time of year—but I’m not able to stay in that head-space for long before I’m overwhelmed with the fact that I’ve got more work to do in the yard than I have time to do it.
Morning was simpler when all there was was birdsong.