First Potato Celebration

I celebrate the sighting of the first potato sprout. Yes, this will be a good year, comes to mind when I see new potato leaves. They are a sign that it is time to start gardening in earnest.

A lot of things are in full bloom by the time the first potato leaves poke above the spring earth. Elderberries with their space-age white odd spiky flowers.

Before they turn their salmon colors, salmon berries are green. Even ripe, they can have a bitter bite. Eaten at this stage, they might make you cry.

The trilliums are carpeting the forest floor with their big, green leaves. Most of the trilliums here are white, so the pink ones are always a surprise.

I never know what awaits me in the coop. A hen trying to tell me she laid a dozen eggs. Three hens crowded into two nests, one on top of the other. It’s impossible to be bored.

Goodbye Frost

Looking at the weather forecast, it’s safe to say that yesterday’s cold morning was this spring’s last frost. There was just a touch of frost on a few low-lying leaves. A soft, goodbye kiss as frost walked away. In the fall when it returns, the first frost will bring as much joy as it always does. Strange how something can happen every year, and still be wonderful.

I like tulips in the morning when they are still asleep, all bundled up. I’ve never paid attention as to when they close at night. Do they wait until it is dark to close, or are they bundled for the night’s sleep by the end of dusk? Do bees ever get trapped inside a tulip for the night? No matter how old you get, there is always more to learn.

Joy in Dandelions

Bees find joy in dandelions. So can we. What’s not to like about dandelions? You don’t have to plant them. They come up every year. They have beautiful yellow flowers. Bees love them. And their seeds float with grace.

Sven is an old rooster now. He spends a lot of time sitting and enjoying the spring air. Even though he’s old and no longer king of the hill, he still has hens who adore him.

Joy is finding the first rhododendron in bloom.

Joy is the powder fresh fragrance of Yaezakura, double cherry blossoms.

And joy is finding the first lilac in bloom. For northern, cool climates, few fragrances soothe the soul like the sweet perfume of lilacs. If it takes all winter for lilacs to distill their intoxicating perfume, it’s worth every frost and snow.

Earth Lives

The first of the apple trees are starting to bloom. Apples wait to bloom until they have few leaves unfurled. Which makes me wonder, is it right to say leaves unfurl? If you’re going to unfurl something, don’t you need to furl it up in the first place? At what stage do the apple trees ever furl up their new sprouts.

Joy is being able to give eggs of many hues without having to die them yourself.

The young Barred-Rocks are trying out the roost during the day. They are still spending their nights in the hoop-house nursery where their mother raised them. Hopefully, they’ll soon join the adults at night in the chicken yard.

It’s been three weeks since the Asian Pear started opening its flowers. The flowers look a long way from being ready to drop. They aren’t so ephemeral as cherry blossoms which start blowing away in the wind far too soon.

One of my favorite things to eat is sprouting on its own. The Spring Chrysanthemum I let bloom and seed last summer is coming up on its own. There are beds of arugula, ruby streaks, and kale that come up on their own too. Add asparagus, lovage, stinging nettles, chives to the greens that you don’t need to plant once they get going, and you can have a vegetable garden that feeds you with very little tending.

The Great Unfolding

The great unfolding is underway. New leaves, flowers of all colors, slowly unfolding, stretching, breathing, transforming the woodlands with every stretch. We could call Spring The Unfolding. Another word that comes to mind is Bird Song. From now into June you can’t step outside but hear the birds singing their love songs. By midsummer, the birds quiet down, their baby-making done, their children out the nest.

Unfolding rhubarb leaves with their crimson hue, you know, if you go live on Mars, you’ll never see such a sight. Among all the vegetable seeds future explorations to Mars will pack for their voyage and Martian colony, I don’t think rhubarb seeds will be on the list.

I can’t see myself traveling six months to a year in a capsule barely large enough to stand in, only to be trapped on a dusty planet, never to witness the spectacle of Unfolding or sit in the woods, eyes closed, enjoying Bird Song. How sad that would be. I’ll stick to earth and lie in the woods in the spring, watching the leaves unfold, and listening to the birds singing. I can close my eyes and dream of Martian adventures, and when I open my eyes, I can breathe in the freshness of new life.

Tea and Biscuits, Anyone?

Asian pears are in full bloom. Their white flowers are little white cups. Out by the pond, hens like taking a break on the bench. At times many more than three crowd onto the bench to gossip. Maybe I should be taking them tea and biscuits.

All On Their Own

The latest brood of chicks is on their own. Last night was their first night on their own. This morning they woke up without their mother. Sometimes, independence is a traumatic experience for chicks. This bunch is taking it all in stride.

The Rainier cherries are about to bloom. With so many bees buzzing about this year, the cherries should be plentiful.

Each day, there are more petals dropping from the trees. At times today’s gusts looked blizzard like with blowing cherry blossom petals. The remaining blossoms glow in the evening sun. Last year, the sun never seemed to be out when the cherry trees were in bloom. This year, they are breathtaking.

Baby Tomatoes, Drifting Cherries

The baby tomatoes are just about ready to be put into the hoop house. Baby tomatoes have a fresh, clean scent that calms the mind. Feeling unsettled, frazzled, nerves on edge? Smell some baby tomatoes. I planted plenty of Sungold tomatoes this year. Last year I planted some and not a single one made it to market. I ate them all. They were that good. This year I am planting more than I can possibly eat – or is it even possible to grow more Sungold tomatoes than you can eat?

Wind gusts have ripped clumps of cherry blossoms off the trees. The edges of the driveway look like snow. With this week’s cooler weather, the cherry blossoms will last a bit longer, but no matter how much you wish, in just a few weeks, they are gone.

The first rosemary flower has opened. Is it a curtsying dancer? A blue angle? A quinceañera dressed for her party? Tinkerbell?

Happy and old Sven are courting the hens out behind the tofu cabin. Still young, Happy has a long future ahead of him, and no doubt will be the father of much of the flock, eventually. Old Sven is looking pretty sad at times. He’s long past his glory, and sometimes I wonder if this will be his last summer. Just like the flowers, roosters don’t last forever. Neither do we.

Beauty Can’t be Hidden

Sunshine or clouds, cherry blossoms can’t hide their beauty. Their blossoms buzz all day with hundreds of bees.

The cherries are in full bloom, with a few blossoms already falling. In a week or two, blizzards of cherry blossom petals will blanket the grass and driveway like snow. It’s a special time of the year. Each day something new is budding out, something new is blooming.