Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Between the rains

We've had a lot of rain lately, and while the day started out clouded by a thick fog and the weatherman said to expect more heavy showers, we were pleasantly surprised by a large orb in the sky that resembled something called "the sun."

I took advantage of this calm between storms to capture some of the new life in the garden.

Even the lilac buds have started to sprout!

As I was clearing away last year's leafy debris from under the lilacs, I noticed this garden friend. Ever since reading Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows, I always think of toads as being "distinguished" -- like Mr. Toad Esq. of Toad Hall.

Isn't he handsome? OK, maybe handsome isn't the right word. Did I mention I got a bit too much sun today?

Back to the garden:

The rhubarb is filling in, which is exciting as the kids are already asking for fresh rhubarb crumble.

The garlic chives are also growing well, but the kids aren't nearly as excited about these.

Over in the cold frames, the spinach is still in its spikey stage...

... but the heirloom Mesclun mix is greening up nicely, though the leaf lettuce (not shown) isn't nearly as leafy yet.

Besides the cold frames, there isn't anything growing in the garden yet. I know, I'm late -- I was hoping to have my peas in by now, among other things, but there is so, so, so much tidying up to do in the kitchen garden. Then there's the rain.

It's been hard not to get overwhelmed with what needs to be done before any seeds or seedlings even touch dirt, but I decided to try on some patience and perseverance and simply take advantage of today's sunshine, while it lasted.

As I was pulling weeds and grass, I was thrilled to find loads of thick, juicy worms in the ground. Just three years ago, the soil was devoid of all life as the previous owners had used chemicals on this site. Today, it was teaming with it. Unfortunately, I also found lots of Japanese Beetle larvae. Talk about raining on my parade...

While gardening with hand tools is slow going, there's something delicious and satisfying about this kind of quiet and intentional work. Slowing down and working deliberately helps strengthen the connection to the land that grows your food, making the relationship that much more personal and intimate. That's what I find, at least.

I didn't get all that I wanted accomplished, but I got the root beds cleared and ready for the first outdoor planting of carrots, parsnips, onions and beets. (This is only the first section; I got the left-side done, as well as the next section down. And if you're wondering what that leafy clump is, it's a patch of perennial wormwood, good for repelling deer and carrot fly.)

I was hoping to get some veggies seeded, and perhaps transplant some beets, but just as I finished up, stretched my back and shook the dirt off my hands, the sky opened up and the rain began to fall. But this time, after several lovely hours playing in the newly-warmed dirt, I welcomed it.


Annie*s Granny said...

The flowers are lovely, and your little seedlings look so nice and healthy. Warm days seem so few and far between this spring, they're doubly enjoyable when they occur. I do wish I had a garden toad!

Erin said...

Mr. Toad is definitely distinguished looking, I can easily picture a top hat there :). The other day I was weeding in the hops and found a toad there and started talking to him... "you need to go, Sprocket is going to get you, where would you like to be moved?", etc.... Hubby walks up and was just standing there behind me listening to me, LOL!

Mr. H. said...

Looks lik eyou have been very busy, love the pictures. Thanks for the tip on wormwood, I'm off to look into it some more...maybe it is something we to can grow.

Hullabaloo Homestead said...

We have had lots and lots amd lots of gray skies and rain this spring too, so when the sun is out we rejoice! I just soak up the rays and am thankful to feel their warmth. :)Lisa

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