A cozy fall night

Here we are, the week before Halloween,  cozied up in the family room with a fire in the fireplace and the world series on tv. Nothing seems more of an indication of fall than the smell of the wood burning, the sounds of baseball in the background and the taste of apple cobbler in our mouths. With the freeze warning we have in place, I went out and cut the last few flowers from my garden: dahlias, chrysanthemums, roses, cleomes and marigolds. There is one pumpkin that has cultivated on our vine which we may be able to carve out next week. I harvested my basil crop and made a batch of pesto. Branches of oregano and rosemary are hanging up to dry and the cold frame has been installed so we can continue to collect lettuce and swiss chard until Thanksgiving.
Everything has a season, and that is good. We all need a time to sit and be cozy with our thoughts- especially after a busy and productive summer. I hope you all can take some time to relax and enjoy the tastes, smells and sounds of the season.

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Spring has Leapt into Action

Today is officially the first day of Spring. It seems hard to believe, given the fact that we have record-breaking warmth in the northeast. The progress of my garden is way ahead of schedule. I have been wearing shorts and t-shirts outside lately, which is normally something only high school students do in March.  I spent the weekend raking off my flower beds. 

Typically I would have waited until April, but when the plants are growing at such speedy rates, it is best to keep up with them. 

The Ides of March is when a big winter storm usually hits this area, but our evening lows have been warmer than our average highs and no storms have been on the radar for days. I surfed the web for a last possible ski run but everything seems to be shutting down for the season- the winter that wasn’t. It was bad news for all the ski resorts, hotels, restaurants and businesses that rely on snow for their livelihood. However, as much as I  try to embrace winter activities, I am ready to turn in my skis for my gardening gloves.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we should not sow annuals until mid- May. My green thumb is itching to get started, though.  I was so excited when I saw these beautiful pansies for $.99/each, that I immediately grabbed some for the deck.    I don’t care if they freeze; I am in the mood for flowers!

At the risk of jumping in before frosty evenings are officially past, my husband grabbed some seed packets for hardy greens: lettuces, spinach, parsley, bok choy and arugula.  

We have a protective cold frame where he plans to start things early. If we have a setback, who cares? The excitement of getting an early crop of Spring salad far outweighs the hassle of starting over.

We uncovered our deck furniture, which had been sitting under a tarp all winter. Since our unofficial snowfall for the season was about a foot, it turns out it wasn’t really necessary.  We set up the volleyball net and practiced our bumping and setting skills in anticipation of some family games. 

Later my husband put away the snowblower, which never got used this year, and tuned up the lawnmower. The grass is already turning bright green and will probably require mowing soon.

In celebration of his birthday, my husband bought a Weber grill. On Saturday he initiated it with our first barbecue of the season. He smoked ribs and sausages slow cooker style, which meant we could smell the tantalizing aromas all afternoon while we worked in the yard.  

Later that afternoon, we had friends over for a drink and he got to show off his shiny new gadget.

I spotted the first crocus of the season on Sunday and today my daffodils have begun to bloom!  

My forsythia has rebloomed despite its confusion in December and the leaves on my bushes are starting to pop out.

When I was walking the dogs, we passed a swampy area where the Spring Peepers were loudly chirping away. I usually don’t hear them until April, but they were already forming a raucous chorus to greet the season. Spring has not just sprung; it has leapt into action!

When I taught preschool, we usually spent the month of March comparing “Lion” and “Lamb”days. According to the proverb, nice weather is like a gentle lamb and indicates spring is coming. Stormy weather is like a lion and is winter’s way of saying it will not go away yet. If I were counting days with my class this month, I think we would be hard pressed to find one we could call a lion. With 11 days to go, I hope we don’t see him make a big comeback at the end.

Plants wrapped in 6 mm (0.2 in) of ice. Severe...

Plants wrapped in 6 mm (0.2 in) of ice. Severe ice storms, which may occur in the spring, can kill plant life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)