Monday, March 07, 2016

Changing seasons

The late winter sun converted the cab of my black truck from a fridge to a furnace this past week when the temps inched north of 75 degrees. I flipped the AC on, rolled down the windows, and headed out on a list of errands. Once on the road, I stuck my arm out the window and let the rushing wind lift my hand like a kite. I remember doing that when I was a kid.

The last stop was south of Birmingham. Crossing over the mountain, I noticed the hardwoods looked as if the Good Lord had spray painted the limb tips green. Dang, I thought to myself, the seasons are changing. 

Soon I’ll be drawn as if by an invisible gravitational force, to the shed where I’ll treat the handles of rakes and shovels with linseed oil, and hone the steel edges of hoes and hatchets.

I’d love to build a greenhouse so that I could get a head start on the spring garden because March is too early for tilling the soil and laying off rows. I can almost hear Jilda’s mom say, “If you plant those seeds now, they’ll get bit.” And she would be right. 

In years past, when I tried to get a garden in early, we wound up replanting after Good Friday. You can get away with beets, carrots, onions, and lettuce, but most of the other stuff should wait until the season changes. Once the sun warms the soil and chances of frost are slim, it will be time for planting.

The pilgrims and pioneers probably didn’t look forward to planting as I do because of the crude tools they brought over on the boat. Felling trees, clearing ground and tilling soil must have been backbreaking work. 

Gardening is hard work, but these days our lives don’t depend on the harvest. If beetles eat the beans, we can run by the farmer’s market and buy a bushel. And our tools make short work of hard jobs.

Last year, I saved my pocket money and bought a professional chainsaw. It’s an angry tool that can turn a fallen tree into a stack of firewood before you can say, “Bring me that ax from the shed.”

We have an old Ford tractor that was built in the late 40s when Harry Truman was in the Whitehouse. It’s not much to look at, but if I could hook a chain onto the community of Empire, I could drag it a little closer to Wal-Mart with that old tractor. Laying off deep garden rows with that old beast is a simple chore.

People often say, “Purchasing your produce at the grocery store is a lot cheaper, isn't it?” If I was an accountant and put pencil to paper, there’s a good chance they would be correct – on paper. But once you’ve stepped out to the garden in summer and eaten a warm juicy tomato fresh off the plant you’ll understand there is value that a pencil can’t capture. A bonus for me is I won’t be eating pesticides or other nasty chemicals routinely sprayed on commercial gardens.

These are the things I think about when the seasons change.


  1. 'You know what you grow' is my motto for home grown produce.

    Ms Soup

  2. Eating organic veggies fruits and berries is so much better for you than what you can buy in the store. Nothing like picking fresh from the garden.


  3. I tried to grow tomato plants but the birds eat them to the root! I get upset and say forget it, every year.
    A warm homegrown tomato sandwich with Dukes mayonnaise is priceless. I cant wait to head to the farmers market soon!

  4. I miss my garden now that we live in town but your post has inspired me to build a little raised bed and play at it.

    Thank you.

  5. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Have yourself a great (& productive) spring!!

  6. We use raised beds to get the job done and I find it easier since we don't can a lot of food anymore. I can't wait for the first ripe tomato! I'm jumping the gun up here just thinking of planting. My car thermometer said 72 and it was lovely, but I know Ohio and I know that snow can and will fall into April. I just hope the buds on my lilacs don't bloom out yet! Enjoy your dreams and I'll enjoy seeing your Spring progress as we patiently wait for it here!

  7. I love how plants do not care if it is asphalt, brick or concrete, some seed will find a way to defeat the obstacle and GROW!

    It has been along time since we planted anything. But you sure make me want to again. Thinking of that warm tomato just plucked off the tomato plant, just tickled my taste buds!
    I love the old tractors that were really built to LAST.

  8. I've never been into gardening but I admire people who can grow things.

  9. I like going into the garden and eating all the fresh veggies. Green peppers and tomatoes make great snacks. I like raw peas too.

  10. Nothing beats something fresh from the garden. I believe it is still cheaper than buying from the store

  11. You are right!!!! My mom's friend use to have a large garden and we would go over and get fresh vegetables! Mom and I miss that so much!


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