Sunday, April 22, 2018

a working Sunday

First of all -- thank you. Such sweet, sweet comments and emails! I truly love reading your notes -- many of you have been spending time with me on Ocean for a number of years and it feels grand to hear from you every now and then!

But now, there is no monkeying around anymore. I may be 65, but I surely have outdoor work to do today. Ed does as well, but he is hobbled a bit by the still frozen mountain of wood chips. His flower bed building proceeds in small spurts. Me -- I have no such excuses. Winter weeding must end today, seeding must begin right now, pot filling must start, chicken chasing must continue.

And the weather is perfect for it. Yes, it's barely 50F (10C) when I take out the breakfast dishes, but there's a hazy sunshine and a promise of an additional dozen degrees before the day is out. It will be the first time we will have passed 60F this year -- nearly a record for the latest warm spring day ever.

Our chicks will be six weeks old tomorrow and there is no question that their being outside is good for them and good for us. They are by now noisy and they mess up their box at a rate that I can only keep up with if I sit next to them with a shovel in hand. I am so glad that they've taken to the outdoors (in the kid playpen) so well, even though I protest loudly when Ed tries to take them out too early, when it's still nippy out there.   
They have their feathers!  -- he'll say.
Too cold still, wait another couple of hours, it's too cold!  
They'll be fine.

Like two parents, bickering about how many wraps their kids should have on their way to school.

Well, if the chicks can be outdoors for breakfast, so can we.

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Oh, but to eat all our morning meals on the porch now! The views, the air, the songs of the birds -- this is what spring and summer are like! We have put in our dues. Now come the rewards!

But it is a slow process this year. In terms of blooms -- yes, I noted a crocus or two as I was working the flower fields today, but honestly, only the blue scilla sibirica under the grand maples is giving us a feast of color.

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Everything else is still trying very hard to wake up.

As I glance toward the play pen to see how the chicks are managing, it strikes me that perhaps I could play favorites for a few minutes: Tomato is by far our most friendly and docile chick. She never runs from being picked up and so putting her out on the grassy knoll outside the pen should be fun for her and easy for me (though under a watchful eye: there have been a number of hawks circling our farmette these past few weeks).

Well, she hardly noticed that she was a free girl at last. She made every effort to get back to her two sisters. The racket they all made brought Peach and Java to the side of the pen.

Oh, Java! You are so my most perfect hen! You're full of grace and protective instincts! I see you now, walking up to Tomato, checking her out, making sure that no one is being harmed...

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Tomato has a lot to learn yet.

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May she take all her lessons in life from you, Java!

I don't plant the annuals yet. I'll be away for a few days and Ed has enough going on without having to worry wether to shelter my annuals for the night.

But I do put in the pansies. Where oh where would we here, in Wisconsin, be without our colorful early spring pansies! They'll lose their cute compact shape by midsummer, complaining no end when the heat takes hold, but right now (and again toward fall), they deliver!

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As I fill a tub with pansies, and sprinkle alyssum seeds here and California poppy seeds there, and push flowering peas by the trellis and sugar snap peas by the tee-pee, Ed does the laborious work of expanding my flower bed out front.

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In the meantime, Stop Sign has come and gone twice over and the birds twitter and sing and the sun warms every bit of our farmette land.

Evening. Snowdrop and her mom are walking up the path for a farmhouse dinner.

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It's somewhere between six and seven and yet the sun is high, streaming its beautiful light into our dining area. (Snowdrop is delighted with the birthday balloon).

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Since her father is absent (for a work event), the little girl sits at the head of the table...

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And after, there is lots of time for beautiful play.

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Such a grand weekend it was! The first of many in this best of all seasons. (If your birthday falls smack in the middle of a season -- you're allowed to play favorites!)