Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Miscellaneous March

Driving around town a few days ago, I noticed the piles of dirty snow still hanging in there. At the time we had been having several days of off and on snow showers, nothing that accumulated, but enough to keep the woodstove burning day and night. I saw the snow pile and thought "That is March." Dirty, icy lumps of winter clinging on for as long as they can even though they're as welcomed and beloved as a spring cold germ.

To prove I'm not a complete cynic, I found these crocus in a flower bed yesterday, poking up out of the mulch of last year's leaves. March is trying to renew the world, it really is, it's just that it's the first month making the attempt, so it doesn't really have a chance of getting credit for it. Like the first person to try to open a stuck jar lid who fails, only to have the next person succeed and receive all the praise. March makes the first effort, but we end up applauding April and May for doing all the work.

Monday was the first day of spring. We had snow showers all day. However, I did see a sign of spring. A big, fat robin in the front yard. William noticed him first. We both knelt on the couch and looked out the front window. He was just standing there in the flattened, yellow, winter lawn, letting big wet snowflakes land on his back. Suddenly he dipped down, twice in rapid succession. With the second dip, he pulled a huge worm out of the ground and dropped it wriggling in the grass.

I've never seen a robin actually pull a worm out of the ground before! He pecked at it a few times and then flipped it up like a pancake and swallowed it whole. My first thought was to wonder if it was still alive, down there in a bird's stomach, like Jonah in the whale. Part of me thought it was pretty cool to have such a dramatic harbinger of spring on a snowy vernal equinox. Another part of me felt slightly queasy for rest of the morning.

Yesterday I walked out in the garden and surveyed it's current state of new growth. Even though the soil is still frozen solid a few inches down in the barrels, there are things happening out there.
Here are some new garlic shoots. I remember leaving a few in the ground last year, but not this many. There's also some new beets and red swiss chard popping up. Or maybe that's more chard, not beets. I scattered a lot of chard seeds out there when I was whacking off the old growth last autumn. Now that snow has melted off, I notice there's an old trowel in there as well.

Here's the first crop I usually use each year. Leeks. Leeks don't mind cold weather. In fact, if I could figure out a way to dig out the part below the ground without them breaking off, I could go under the snow and have fresh leeks all winter long. Mrs. Claus must serve a lot of leek soup up there at the North Pole. There was also some arugula and broccoli in other parts of the garden, but I figured two photos of scruffy looking garden dirt was enough for one post.

Some winters I'm able to get peas and onions in the ground by this time. It looks like it will have to wait until April this year. And since I will be gone all of May, the warm weather crops won't get planted until June! Oh well, it's not like I don't have a ton of other garden tasks to get around to in the meantime. Maybe this will be the year I finish the half finished brick pathway.

Other bloggers have been doing posts about what they are grateful for this month, which is what got me thinking about how to define March in the first place. I gave it some thought and have decided that March might actually be my least favorite month. Sorry. It's nothing personal. It's just that for me, geographically, March is a gray and gloomy month. It's the month I finally need GREENNESS, feel it's absence as a physical and emotional ache. It's the month I usually plan at least one getaway to the valley below, to get a bit of green grass and yellow daffodil therapy, but this year the weather hasn't allowed me to go up and over the mountains safely. And if the lack of green isn't enough to complain about, it's also the month I turn my I-have-to-do-the-taxes stressing to High. Yes, I could just DO my taxes and be done with it, but one must maintain long held traditions. Stressing and waiting until April to do my taxes is one of mine.

I do have things to feel grateful for this month, however. Health. I felt like I lost half of January and half of February to feeling puny and wheezy and sick. Even if I'm not completely 100% yet - cough, ache, sniff - at least I'm getting close to the end of cold season. I have renewed hope of being warm and well again. And of course my high flying (or would that be high falling?) son Joe can move all his fingers, toes, and other appendages, for which I am beyond grateful. Last if least, I'm grateful that I've managed, despite the constant germ invasion of the last few months, to use my few scattered bouts of energy recently to get a surprising amount of small but fulfilling tasks accomplished. Yah me.

Speaking of accomplishments, my 14 year old just spontaneously cleaned his room. He even changed the sheets on his bed. Oh dear. This isn't normal behavior. I hope he's not coming down with something!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

*falling down in a faint at the thought of a boy actually cleaning his room of his free will* Hehehe . . . . I once saw a robin pick up what at first I thought was a really big worm but which turned out to be a small snake! The poor thing was scared to death when the robin finally dropped it on the ground and flew away.

10:17 PM  

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