Monday, March 26, 2012

The Exhausting Exuberance of Spring

J. is away for a few days, which means I can keep to my own hours, staying up late, making small, spur-of-the-moment meals.
The warm sunny weather has drawn me outside to the gardens which are burgeoning with new growth--of cherished plants and of invasive weeds.
A spring morning is so lovely: birds bursting with song and busyness;
the scent of blossoms freshened by gentle showers of rain;
This time of year is also over-whelming in the demands of yard and garden--so many chores
"want done" at once!

Each day brings perceptible changes:
this photo was taken on Thursday with crabapple and redbud in full bloom.
Now the pink petals float down with every breeze, sifted onto the green grass like confetti.
The blossoms of the pear tree are only a remembrance.
With two days and nights of cooler temperatures, we hope for fruit to set.

I have spent long hours weeding in the upper flower border.
My gardening and my house-keeping have [sadly] much in common;
I work on the 'lick and promise' theory--the most urgent gets done and I need to move on to another pressing task, 'promising' myself that I'll return for the final clean-up.
Where ever I have gardened each springtime brings surprises.  Some plants have gone missing, leaving only dry stumps and shriveled roots.  Others have spread out and crowded their neighbors.
I dig, prune, rake, weed, move plants.
After hours on my knees I creak into the house to scrub at my grubby paws and fall exhausted and aching into my rocking chair.
I love what I'm doing--but the doing of it surely takes a greater physical toll each year.
It is on such days that I wonder what it would be like to have a housekeeper--to stumble in from the garden and find the house spotless and gleaming.

Friday morning was bright and I thought it a good time to tackle the weeds in the
upper flower garden which D. created for me last autumn.
Most of the weeds there are lamium or 'hen-bit' as it is locally called.
It is ironic to note that the local Wal Mart is offering in their garden center pots of a hybrid lamium at nearly 9 dollars per plant.  It is slightly showier than its wild cousin, but very recognizable, and I cringe at the sight!

As I knelt in the dirt teasing weeds from the clumps of peonies, the wind came up and the sun scuttled behind grey clouds. I turned up the collar of my down vest and worked on until raindrops began to fall.
The rain came heavier, driving me, shivering, into the house.
I made tea and stood at the kitchen window, watching as sheets of rain slanted down.
It was over in 15 minutes.  The sun reappeared, pillowy white clouds rode a blue sky.
I have to finish weeding in front of the stone edging.  I'm thinking that thyme would be a good choice to plant where it can spread and creep along the rocks.

Looking east beyond Big Creek as the sun goes down.

Devin conveyed me to Wal Mart this forenoon to wrestle bales of peat moss and
bags of mulch into the back of his truck.
He ran the small tiller over the strips where I decided to plant the six blueberry plants which
arrived on Friday.
He dug huge holes for each plant and shoveled in peat to acidfy the soil.
When J. returns I'm hoping he can get a load of sawdust at the Amish sawmill, so that we can  mulch heavily around the plants.
D. went home for supper, while I scratched out two short trenches for planting potatoes.
The potatoes were the last of a large sackfull that J. bought in January.  I left them in the basement to sprout, which they did rather grudgingly.
We are trying to recall where we bought Yukon Gold seed potatoes last spring as they
made the most impressive crop.
It was dusk when I put away the garden tools, collected the cardboard and plastic wrap which had protected the berry plants.
Willis the Cat trailed me and as usual had to be retreived from the garage.
The above photo doesn't do justice to the delicate sickle moon as seen through the branches of a
dooryard maple.  Jupiter and Venus are still flanking the moon, an awe-inspiring display in the evening sky.
I had thoughts of creative writing for this evening, plans to visit my favorite bloggers and leave comments.
Instead I scrubbed my nails, warmed up the supper offering supplied by G. and then folded myself into the old rocking chair, drowsing over a book while awaiting J.'s phone call.
I have ordered two long-coveted yellow peonies.
Where shall I plant them?
More digging!


  1. Some great photo's MM. I think we all - or most - have some trepidation about the amount of work to done in gardens etc. I enjoy a garden but not being a gardener - not so much the gardening {from a confidence point of view}. It's good to be out side and feeling like your ahchieving something.

    Housework? Blech!!!

  2. lovely pics, especially the sunset on the trees.
    Yellow peonies, they sounds gorgeous, looking forward to seeing those.

  3. I think you and I have much in common with our approaches to gardening and housework! e.g. The worst gets done first and, ahem, not always returned to for finishing off completely! I get distracted by something else looking bad when the awful bit is looking much improved.

    What a pretty layout you have and some beautiful flowering shrubs. I bet you can't wait for your yellow paeonies (never seen them in the UK - it's all pinks or white). I bought myself a Broom yesterday, being in a more shrubby mind these days, so I shall plant that up this evening. First I need to clear it a spot . . .

  4. WE're having gorgeous weather here at the mpoment which needs taking advantage of - in this country you never know what the weather will be like from one day to the next! I, too, noticed the beautiful new Moon with Jupiter and Venus in attendance, it was quite stunning.

  5. Good morning. What a lovely post about your quiet and productive life there. Wonderful photos.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  6. You've captured so well the internal conflict - when busy in the garden, we fret over the indoor household duties we're not getting done; when inside, we are longing to be out in the garden instead. What is one to do, but some of each, and never feel either is done completely...but we are still getting some of it done, and feel grateful for this...and for large mugs of strengthening tea!

  7. That picture of Big Creek is just glorious! I feel the same way you do this time of year, so much to do, so little time. Well you can't say you're bored!

  8. What lovely views you have! It's so good, and tiring, to be out in the garden. We only have an acre, I don't know how you keep up with all your land, of course you have more cats than I do and that always helps. LOL

  9. Wow you do have a lovely homestead and beautiful surrondings. Yes and why do today what you can put off untill tomorrow. I love working in the garden but have to take it easy thje old back not what it use to be.It appears you're a real pro in the garden, However please becareful with sawdust unless it is from cedar wood it is a termite magnet please keep away from house.

  10. My favorite photo was also sunset at Big Creek.

    My husband used to plant the Yukon Gold potatoes - they're my favorite.

  11. What amazing colours in your sunset shot. Had to smile about the 'weed'for sale ...Butterfly Bushes(forget the real name)grow like weeds in my garden ....I love them ...DD doesnt ..but the local garden centres sell young and mature plants ...and they are not cheap....I could sell them mine lol.