Spring and hope

We’re still a couple weeks away from the official beginning of the next season.  But there is dirt under my fingernails daily.  I can scrub for five minutes and its still there.  I shook hands with someone last week and was (only a little) embarrassed at how brown they were.  Yes, I have garden gloves.  But I end up taking them off.  I love how the soil feels in my hands.  I don’t want any buffer between it and me.

I love too all the double meanings in gardening, I’m certain that God knew what he was doing when he created the earth and designed seeds and photosynthesis and all that wonderful stuff.  The parallels between all things garden to my life are endless and deeply meaningful.

I also love the timing of it all.  Winter bears down hard.  Days are dark and short.  Even the variety of food available to enjoy is limited and not nearly as bright and beautiful as mid-summers’ bounty.  There is the inevitable winter cough and cold of course too, sometimes ones that hang on for weeks or even a month.  Our supply of vitamins and fresh air greatly hindered by wet, frigid, Vitamin-D deficient days.  Anyone prone at all to depression or mood disorders (honestly, isn’t that just about every one of us some time or another?) feels the darkness on the inside just as much or more than outside.  Come December I was online researching full-spectrum lighting and wondering if it would help perk me up at all.

Then the seed catalogs come.  It’s January.  Not even close to spring time yet.  But they come at just the right time.  Bright, bold colors spread across the cover.  Beautiful speckled beans and dark purple carrots and pictures of rainbow chard that are just that, a real life rainbow.  Makes you want to grow some just so you can look at it!  The hatchery catalogs come at the same time.  Fluffy photos of day old chicks fill it, cover to cover.  We sit wrapped in blankets with coffee and cocoa in hand and pour over them.

The hope of new life hatching out of little oval shells and tiny miniscule seeds growing into plants that will provide us with lettuce and cucumbers and perhaps a melon or tomato if we’re really lucky…it is exactly what we need, when we need it most.  Our bodies are softer (um, well, mine is at least) than they were in the summer or fall, from too many days inside, too much comfort food and too little hard outdoor work.  Just about now, life in general is in great need of a boost, a fresh cold rain shower, some good hard physical work, cool nights and warmer days.

Enter spring.  This year is the first that I feel such a keen awareness of the season and the timing of everything and the pressing, constant “next thing” that must be done.  The ground needs digging up.  The soil is clay and needs major amending.  The seeds need starting.  The onions are refusing to even sprout, do I toss them and seed something else in their place?  The chicken water system in place is dismal, so yesterday I needed to put together a new system that will work for all.  The goats are bred with babies due end of April (do stayed tuned for that, not much cuter than a baby goat I tell you!).  The chicks are here warming under the brooder in the bathroom waiting for days warm enough to begin their journey outside.  The neighbor has a cow for sale, his name is Redneck and we buy him.  He will graze on her pasture until we have him butchered in August.  The meat chicks come next Friday, all 50 of them, to live their short but happy life here in our yard until they too will serve their purpose of feeding our growing family.

The kids are down at the creek right now, swimsuits and all, thinking this 55 degree day is practically summer…so I’m off to catch a peek at their fun with baby Liberty in hand!