09 March 2016

Its Official - Spring has Sprung

"The Spring advances very rapidly and all Nature will soon be cloathed in her gayest Robes. The green Grass, which begins to shew itself, here, and there, revives in my longing Imagination my little Farm, and its dear Inhabitants.." John Adams to his dear wife, Abigail, Philadelphia, 15 March 1777

Harbingers of Spring have arrived at Stratheden Farm. Crocus can never be trusted - their judgement is too oft flawed as they are hopeless optimists. Native plants, however, are more in tune with a specific location and its eccentricities. The coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, has begun to bloom; a most unusual plant in that is produces flowers before there are any leaves. Most oddly, this year there are a smattering of leaves simultaneous with the blooms. Even the avian world sayeth Spring has  arrived - there were perhaps 15 Robins in a flock on the front of the farm this day scratching for worms and freshly hatched insects.

After an abnormally wet autumn and winter, along with the welcome relief of days in the 60s or 70s, has also been a respite from precipitation. In the parlance of the vernacular, it is 'time to make hay whilst the sun shineth.'

Your humble and aching correspondent has been at labor reducing patches of wild roses, blackberries, wineberries, briars and young locusts, a back bending and shoulder wrenching task. The wild roses are just starting to leaf out - and any attempt to control their wildly invasive natures is predicated on removal - which in turn must be done while the stems are clearly visible, i.e.., before leaves obscure. Mr. Fuzzy awoke so sore and stiff today that the bed cats were making bets as to whether he might rise to serve their needs or not.

A portion of yesterday afternoon was spent engaged with battling the tiller in the small garden. Tillers may be an improvement over the hoe in terms of finely breaking up the soil but they certainly use no less energy on the part of the owner. It is like unto wrestling a small bear who has imbibed too many fermented berries.This preliminary tilling is not so much to prepare the garden for planting in six weeks but to harass the infernal weeds which otherwise would have developed sound root systems by May and be nearly impossible to eradicate as a result.

May your days be filled with the light of the sun, the warmth of the earth and the energy of Spring.

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