Saturday, May 18, 2019


I have read recently that for some people, the very beauty of spring fuels depondency. I can understand that: joy, renewal, engagement with the land are gifts and not everyone is able to share in them equally or at the same time.

Both Ed and I are lucky in that we thrive when the land around us begs for our attention. We respond. And with that physical effort comes the reward of feeling at peace with the world around us. I recently told a friend that when I dig, pull, scrape, saw and sow, I disengage from spinning worry, from fretting about the big and little annoyances that always seem to chase our days. The wheels up there slow down. I slow down and recharge. I am better at life after I have worked hard at the farmette.

This year, though, you really had to be retired, with flexibility to spare, to put in a good share of effort. Pockets of good weather came and went. If you weren't ready for them -- too bad. They didn't stick around.

Today was so typical. I felt like a person playing double dutch jump rope -- you know how two people spin two ropes and you jump in and out? It was like that with the weather: starts cold, with drizzle, but stops early, with promise of dry weather until the evening. That promise is not fulfilled. At 11 there is a thunder clap and the rain comes down, feeling like it's here to stay. But it doesn't stay. By 2 it's gone. The air turns sticky warm. For a while anyway.

Again, Ed and I are lucky: we can bounce with it.

I suggest we go to the market downtown. I want asparagus. The season for this wonderful vegetable is upon us. One month of fantastically fresh asparagus! I do not want to miss a single week of it.

And so I do a quick walk of the farmette land... (I also do not want to miss the joy of inhaling lilac blooms right now...

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... nor do I want to miss admiring the full beauty of the crabs!)

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Then we eat breakfast...

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... finally, we ignore the cheepers and set out.

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Matt, one of our favorite asparagus farmers, is there with his assistant, George (the writer, to the right). We catch up and stock up.

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We also pick up beautiful bunches of tulips mixed with lilac. One for the farmhouse, one for my mother. We head to her place then, to finish building some tables and hanging more pictures on her apartment walls.

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And this is when the rains come down. You have to feel sorry for the farmers who count on this day to sell their produce. Many of the big market days have not been kind weatherwise.

Ed and I are ready to have a restful day inside. Oh, we can always step out for that heavenly scent and a close encounter with our blooming trees. (No, I can never have enough of this combo...)

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But, if it's to be a wet day, we'll concentrate on indoor stuff.

Except, as I said, the rains stop. You cannot waste an afternoon of calm, warm air. I suggest we weed last year's tomato bed. We're moving the veggies elsewhere this year. We had considered letting the old bed go to weed. Or grasses. Or both. But I have a half a bucket of wildflower seeds left. Wouldn't this be a fine place to sow them?

We spend a couple of hours pulling out thistle, dandelions and bindweed. And when we're more or less done, I sow the seeds.

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We try our hardest to keep the cheepers away (they follow us everywhere...)

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It's useless -- they love the little seeds! It's their perfect dessert after a feast of worms. Still, we hope that there were enough seeds for both cheepers and flowers. Ed thinks the weeds will dominate. I told him to tuck his pessimism away -- we're going to get that field to sprout some wildflowers or else!

The early evening remains dry.

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I move another plant, Ed builds another peony stand. And finally we jump out of the yard and into the house, fully expecting that tomorrow will be exactly the same -- hours out, hours in. Like in that jump rope game.