Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Renewal

Even though Spring actually begins at Imbolc by the Old Calendar (regardless of uneducated meteorologists who seem to think the Equinoxes and Solstices are the starting points of the seasons) it hasn't really felt like spring until the past week or two. For most of February and March it was cold and rainy. The buds stayed tightly furled on their branches. Birds shivered and shook off the frost. Even my plantings of cold-weather-loving veggies refused to sprout. Then someone flipped a switch and suddenly it's SPRING!! This is the flowering quince hedge along the front of our property, home to a very happy year-round resident mockingbird and his new bride:
And suddenly I'm bouncing around the house like a little kid again, with my own child letting me know in no uncertain terms exactly how 'seriously grown-up' I had been all winter. I guess the energy of the seasons really gets to us more than most of us care to admit.

In the past week I have found innumerable excuses to be outside. We've moved our home schooling out to the deck. The laptop works just as well in the fresh air as it does in my four-walled office. I find it necessary to check on the garden several times a day. Heck, I'll even empty the trash cans throughout the house just to be able to take the garbage out to the big can by the driveway.

I have yet to figure out how to cook dinner outside, though, since our gas grill met its demise a year ago. We're toying with the idea of a cob-built combination barbecue and bread oven out back - getting back to our primitive roots with this ancient building technique. I've had Becky Bee's book (The Cob Builder's Handbook) for years but never actually started a project. Now that my daughter is pushing to do something with cob, I think we'll give it a try. Of course, I'll post a write-up of the project here. If you're interested in finding out more, google the phrase 'cob building' and you'll be amazed.

But for now, that's too organized and responsible a project. I'm still feeling springy...still buoyed by the amazing appearance on Easter morning of four beautiful does in our back yard, grazing on the chickweed and deadnettle that have grown up in the unweeded garden beds. We stood and watched them for quite some time as they enjoyed their breakfast. I ached to reach out and touch the soft fur on their ears, the cool dampness of their black noses. Eventually they trotted back toward the pond in the woods, had a quick drink and bounded over the fence into the field with our farmer-neighbor's cattle.

Later inspection divulged that these particular deer are also quite fond of dandelion flowers, since they managed to nip off every single one of them in the entire garden area! Oddly enough, though, they didn't bother any of the purpose-planted veggies in the garden. I've got English peas, broccoli and broccoli raab seedlings, and full-grown kale, collards and lettuce out there. They didn't touch a bit of it - just the weeds. A little Spring miracle, maybe?
It's slated to get up to 90 degrees F today, so my outside time will definitely involve shade. And these lovely little lavender flowers, which have decided to sprinkle themselves all over the front yard. They're sneaky, too - just short enough that the lawn mower doesn't touch them, so the yard has lovely little pale purple speckles all over it.

Time to head into the back yard and peruse possible cob oven/barbecue sites. And listen to the birds sing. And inhale the marvelous perfume of crabapple blossoms. I'll get to work eventually, I promise. But not just yet.