Monday, May 15, 2017

the middle of May

I'm not firm about it. I allow myself room to adjust for weather permutations, family commitments, other preoccupations. But it is true that since I moved to the farmette and began the project of planting and pruning and growing things here, most especially flowers, I aim to be done with the spring sowing and dividing and introducing new arrivals by the middle of May.

And so it is at once remarkable and rather predictable that this afternoon, just as the first ripple of thunder warned me to head back indoors, I put in the last day lily and sowed the last packet of seeds into the ground. May 15th.

Of course, one is never really done. New ideas, new spaces, plant sales -- these all keep me going until the mosquitoes make life outside too unpleasant. But there are no more imperatives. If I merely attend to what is there (watering and weeding), all will be well in our gardens.

It is also a turning point: early spring blooms are nearly all finished. I'll be laying down the narcissus leaves and stems this week.

So I have a special fondness for the last of the brilliant first bloomers, including these tulips which line the driveway...

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And of course, the heavenly, heavily scented lilac.

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Breakfast in the sunny fold of the bulging purple branches...

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And after breakfast, I return to the final sprint of planting.

The cheepers, as always, come to check on my movements. Digging in the front? Show us what you unearthed!

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By now, Java will tag along after Scotch, who comes right to my hand if I discover a worm. Henny is still reluctant to get too close. Three birds with such differing personalities!

And speaking of fascinating personalities, let me jump to just past the noon hour: Snowdrop pick up time.

I'd deliver a bale of hay to the school. The staff assumed, correctly, that we store some hay in the barn. Or maybe Snowdrop told them this. In any case they pleaded for a bale and they got it. Well, minus a few wisps of hay, which the little girl wants to preserve for herself. (She does not need a sweater. It is hot outside. But Snowdrop has an especially keen attachment to sweaters.)

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As we walk the neighborhood, she asks, as always, for permission to pick a flower -- typically a dandelion puff or a violet. These she stores lovingly in the stroller, snapping them in with the seat belt. To keep them safe? Does she wonder what happens to her collections at the end of the day? I used to save them for her, just in case she asked, but I found that for her, the act of preserving is more important than the act of recalling.

Isn't that a little bit like me?

We go the park. When she looks a little to the left, you can hardly spot the wounds of Saturday (which, face on, look even more vicious today).

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The way to get her off the swing: should we go back to the farm and play in the sandbox? Condition: sweater must come off!

It gets better: we set up the hose to issue a little fountain of sprinkles for her. She is thrilled! (and yes, it is that warm!)

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Ahah, you want to wash your feet with me?

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Scotch, would you like to wash your feet with me? Scotch isn't as willing.

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As any kid who loves water play, she eventually gets her hands, arms, face wet.

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Oh happy girl! Your joy is our joy.

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But I do need to change her clothing at the farmhouse. She doesn't mind. She is content. And she goes to her doll to share her warm fuzzies with "baby."

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Evening. It's nearly time for Snowdrop to be picked up.
I want to go outside, she says.

She looks with a targeted gaze at the tulips. Can I pick one?

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In the past I always said no. Tulips are to be enjoyed in their regal garden settings. But we are at the end of the season.


I want to give it to mommy. 
It matches your sweater, Snowdrop.
It's for mommy. It matches my sweater.

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She adds a mostly wilted daffodil to her fold. For mommy, she assures me.

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She leaves.

I have no gardening imperatives. I fix leftovers for dinner and exhale, with a smile.