Monday, May 10, 2010

AH SPRING! A time of blossoming, growth, and amorous passions. Rival chicken gangs have set themselves up around the farm. You can hear the cocky "Cockle Dooing" from the house.

One group hangs around the silo. Reginaldo rules the roost there. He struts his stuff and likes to bark a loud "DOODLE DOO!" just as people pass by the silo, enjoying the bucolic scenery and the peace of the countryside.

The other group is a motely band of woodland wanderers. They vie for the attentions of the more mature laying ladies up by the house. The Barred Rocks and the Buff Orpingtons have received many solicitations from their teenage neighbors from out in the field. These forays are as yet unsuccessful.

The herbs are hardening off in the hoop house. Getting ready for our first delivery. I used to pronounce them "ERBS" but now, I am thinking of bringing on the European "HUhERBs" is more breathy, very like the sighs one involuntarily emits when stooped over them inhaling their lovely scents, and imagining various sauces, soups, roasts and salads.

The peppers and tomatoes are sun bathing in the greenhouses. The melons have been seeded.
. In the middle of a Minnesota winter, when one is combing through the seed catalogs dreaming daring dreams, planning gardens to rival Malmaison, one can get to the point of hallucination. When we read the description of the Edonis melon we thought we were imagining the second sentence:

Edonis (F1) These small, avg 2lb., round melons have a green rind with dark green sutures and fine cork netting. The firm, deep orange flesh is reminiscent of the pleasures of the gods in paradise.”
-Johnnys Seed catalog
You tell me! What does that description do to you?

When all the land within miles is covered thickly with pads and pads of snow, and all you’ve eaten for weeks are root vegetables, venison stews, and brown bread, it is difficult not to indulge in day dreams of ¼ acre covered all over with prolific melon fruits, and jolly barefoot frolickings that entail chins dripping with the juice of these “deep orange fleshed” beauties, giddy as the “gods in paradise”. Needless to say we ordered not one, but two packets….

Spring used to be for me the drippy season of wet mushy ground...a time only endured by means of many pots of tea and BBC period dramas. But now, in the full flush of planting out and direct seeding, with all these green growing things popping up around the farm, I am coming to see that Spring is such a healing season. All of the foggy notions we've spent the wintering nursing are dispersed with the first breath of fresh spring air tearing through the open windows into the house, or with that first touch of cool soil, that first meeting with a contented healthy earthworm.

"THE SECRET GARDEN" is perfect reading for May: (And now honestly, plow through it. Don't skim! It's good for the soul!)

“But Colin had actually dropped back against his cushions, even though he gasped with delight, and he had covered his eyes with his hands and held them there shutting out everything until they were inside and the chair stopped as if by magic and the door was closed. Not till then did he take them away and look round and round and round as Dickon and Mary had done. And over the walls and earth and trees and swinging sprays and tendrils the fair green veil of tender little leaves had crept, and in the grass under the trees and the grey urns in the alcoves and here and there everywhere were touches or splashes of gold and purple and white and the trees were showing pink and snow above his head and there were fluttering of wings and faint sweet pipes and humming and scents and scents. And the sun fell warm upon his face like a hand with a lovely touch. And in wonder Mary and Dickon stood and stared at him. He looked so strange and different because a pink glow of color had actually crept all over him-ivory face and hands and neck and all. “I shall get well! I shall get well!” He cried out. ‘Mary! Dickon! And I shall live for ever and ever and ever!”

-Francis Hodgson Burnett

Let's say work isn't going so well. Perhaps you've had a nasty spat with your spouse. Your brand new puppy just made quite the impressive mess on your also brand new carpet....your car just broke down, or your teenage son just crashed it....the roast you had in the oven for Sunday dinner with the distant out of town relatives roasted all day in an oven....that was turned off.

It's time's like these you need to go outside. Get down on your hands and knees. Forget the gloves. Forget the trowel. Just dig into that moist ready earth. You'll find yourself slappily happy in about 5 minutes. Suddenly all your troubles will seem trivial. Your spouse will seem like the lover of your life, you can live with the interesting and artistic spot on your carpet, and who needs a car anyway? And as for the roast: sprouts. Sprouts will do just fine, and seem so wonderfully refreshing on a lovely May day. Dirt: The great healer. You will find yourself murmuring along with Colin:

"I shall get well! I shall get well! And I shall live forever and ever and ever!"

The peas are up! Dream of peas!
Also, we've spotted some potatoes coming up.
This rain has been great. Keep on dancing!

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