Monday, April 25, 2016


When you undertake a gardening task, it can come to be regarded as one of those transformative, great ideas, or it can be checked off as a regrettable choice. With eight flower fields to care for, to say nothing of the young orchard and the huge raspberry patches and the vegetable garden that hasn't even been planted yet, you have to allocate your time carefully. Regrettable choices on good weather days use up precious time.

Those were my thoughts this morning at 6 as I let the cheepers out and stayed out to clear the raspberry island to the far east of the farmette.

We had last tended to that island when my daughter was married here several years ago. Since then, our interest in maintaining it has waned. There is always so much else to do! The raspberry island isn't even especially productive. But we still have a mountain of wood chips and I suggest to Ed that he may want to throw a bunch of loads there. I'd clipped the spent canes, so there was hope for a renewal. He responded that the weeds are so high that covering with chips wouldn't help. I answered brashly, stupidly -- well then I'll weed it. First thing in the morning!

And that's what I found myself doing from 6 until 9 -- the tedious, dull, and annoyingly hard job of pulling out quack grass and creeping charlie from the raspberry island. Even as seeds need to be sown, plants need to be planted, weeds elsewhere have to be carefully controlled and yes, holes (dug by the terribly bothersome claws of the cheepers) have to be covered back up.

Well, never mind. We now have a fine raspberry island that maybe will add to the raspberry harvest come late summer.

In this same early morning period, I took two photos of tulips. They are my miracle tulips.

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I had actually planted several dozen last fall and 90% of them have been consumed by (I presume) the groundhog. Ugly squat stems remain. Thanks, pal. And thanks, too, for eating up the violas in one of my pots. The bergenia too. Grrr! But these two groups of tulips heroically remain. Here's the second one:

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This is the last of the warm and dry April days (we're getting our share of rain and cold for the rest of the week) and so we have a magical breakfast (well earned!) on the porch.

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And immediately after, Snowdrop comes over.

Visiting the asparagus bed is first on her agenda. And once she secures a stalk, she is off!

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That way now!

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Snowdrop, the cheepers and asparagus.

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The sun feels so warm on our backs that both she and I take off our sweaters. Snowdrop loves to do what Ed and I both love as well -- walk the land, inspecting it, appreciating it -- in her case, with asparagus stalk in hand.

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She doesn't stop. Around the barn, up toward the farmhouse, and now along the driveway...

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And toward the front yard where I'm planting the new flower field and where she and I find violets to pick, hold and admire.

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Happiness is sunshine and violets and the freedom to explore...

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... and to hold on to your own personal stalk of asparagus.

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Back at the farmhouse, she climbs over grandpa Ed...

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...and I'm sure she'd continue, but I remind her that lunch and nap are a must for a girl who is so very active.

Late afternoon. I think about what to tell my daughter when she asks for a report on Snowdrop's day: well, she played outside, she played with grandpa Ed and she read countless books. In my lap. On the floor. And in the afternoon -- at her table. Here she is laughing, because the book ends with a mirror and she sees her own face.

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And she sees in that mirror shot that she is wearing a ribbon that I had clipped on when she hadn't been paying attention. Ha ha, grandma! I'm on to you! Off it goes.

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More shenanigans with grandpa Ed...

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And then she and I take one final walk. Snowdrop may well be the only one here who appreciates the finer side of creeping charlie. She loves the tiny purple flowers! She'll walk, pause and plomp down to sit in their minty magnificence (in her eyes).

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So beautiful, grandma!
Yes it is, Snowdrop. All of it.

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Late in the evening, when she is home again and I turn to chopping up the garden asparagus for soup, I glance out the window at the burst of yellow there.

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So beautiful indeed!


  1. Great that Snowdrop loves asparagus... just as I did when I was a bit older. We had a huge asparagus bed so I have lots of memories, both of the stalks and of the totally different feathery leafing out later and then the berry-like little seeds. For a kid, it was almost hard to believe they were all from the same plants.

  2. Snowdrop must love the freedom she has at the farmette.


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