Sunday, May 18, 2014


If I've raved about the weather on some previous days of spring -- forget those accolades. This day beats them all. Mostly sunny, a high of 73 -- what's there not to love?

Hi cheepers! -- that's the attitude I had walking to set them free at 5:30. Isn't it lovely outside?


Breakfast is on the porch, of course!


And then Ed and I attack our list of outdoor projects. And here's something I learned today: the chickens aren't as thrilled with "sunny and warm" as I am. They follow us to wherever we are working, but rather than pestering us no end, they park themselves in the shade and attend to their plumage. Or take a nap. Occasionally, one will come to me and give a halfhearted scratch of the soil. Tokenism. She really wants me to hand her a worm. She'll then retreat and join the pack. As if the begging itself was too much effort.

Oreo, watching

So we got a lot done today. Ed finished building the pea trellises, I nearly completed planting the flowers. We trimmed dead tree limbs, replanted the lilies of the valley, planted the replacement peach trees and an apple and cherry (having taken out the ones that did not survive our impossible winter) and randomly trimmed anything that stood in our path.

(the replacement peach trees are mere twigs)

We're being careful with our young fruit trees this year. Ed is building cages for them as we speak to keep the deer away.

Our list of projects isn't exactly dwindling. But I am so happy that the difficult ones are slowly being crossed off. So that only the zen-like ones remain. I mention this because I spent some time watering the new plants this afternoon and I remembered how much I love (yes, really!) just standing there with a hose and pointing it toward a flower bed. This is the best aspect of yard work: the satisfaction of having it come together, aided now by a misty spray of water.

In the evening we go to our home supply store (Menards) to pick up more wire fencing for our new orchard. While still in the parking lot, I watch a young couple hurry to a waiting car. There are two kid seats inside, but I can't tell if they're empty or with kids. The couple is loading up some painting supplies. She looks so stressed. I'm thinking -- it's Sunday evening, they probably have work the next morning, kids to feed yet tonight and this project that obviously cannot be completed by the end of the day. I wonder if in countries where families gather for the better part of a Sunday, home improvement projects are less popular. Because how else do you fit in everything?

(our neighboring farmers to the east)

Dinner -- a simple one of wild asparagus from various parts of the farmette (we don't know how it seeded, but we have scattered spears coming up in a number of places during May), of shrimp and sorrel and quinoa.


I look at my gardening list for this coming week. The transplanting of tomatoes alone will take up an enormous amount of time. And of course, any mowing will need a repeat performance. Ditto weeding. (To the commenter who suggested burning the prairie grasses -- Ed tells me that he tried that when he first moved to the farmette. All it did was strengthen the quack grasses. Our prairie is really only in part a true prairie. Most of it is overwhelmed by quack grass, mustard greens, Queen Ann's lace, rambler vines. Things that thwart a prairie. To start a true prairie, we would probably have to apply several doses of Roundup and then vigorously reapply it until all invasives were put to rest. We're not willing to do that, so we struggle with imagining something else. Maybe a clover field someday? We dream big! For now, I mow.)

So this is it -- what we look forward to all winter long. An immensely busy time of putting in place a garden. A raspberry field. A shady flower bed. Strawberry rows. A young orchard. Are the better dreams out there? Can't think of them. Not on days like this one.