Rites of Spring

We had a rare sunny afternoon yesterday. This May and June have been soggy wet and clammy cold, with the exception of the one radical day when the thermometer topped at F104 in our backyard. We didn’t like that much, but are tiring of the F55-60 and cloudy routine, too. It’s made garden preparation into an absurd exercise.

Last year, because we thought the new septic field might go through the vegetable garden, we didn’t plant. Even though I considered risking it, I knew it would break my heart to see the young vegetable patch ripped up for pipe laying. In the event, the field went through the sheep yard and not through the garden, but by then it was too late. So the garden spent last year laying in a nice sod of weed grass. When, in a split-second break in the clouds, I went at it with the tiller a few weeks ago, I wished I had broken it all up in the fall. I wished we had a nice friable soil instead of clay loam. I wished it would stop raining so I could do a proper job if it. I wished a number of things, indeed, that I will not share with you.

Since then it has rained. It has rained. It. Has. Rained.

Yesterday, in that unexpected Sun Break as we call them here, I went out and busted up clods and the stumps of grass clumps, and worked myself into a sweat trying to wrestle enough submission out of the ground to permit seeds to fall into likely places. Places likely to let them survive germination.

Busting up the clods

So, though it looks like a miserable start to me, and these plants will have to bring all their determination to the fore, the garden is on its way.

It’s supposed to rain again tonight.

Meanwhile, I see signs of the progressing season elsewhere on the place. We noted activity in a nest box sited on a fence post that’s going to be gone in a few weeks. “Uh-oh,” said Richard. The fence will have to make way for big equipment, and it didn’t look like a nest-builder at work now was going to have time to pull off a brood before demolition begins. We decided we’d feel less bad about interrupting an afternoon’s housekeeping than we would about taking down a box full of nestlings. It was not 20 minutes later we spotted work underway at the new site on the carport post.

This little tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) gave things serious consideration before committing:


Hmm. Looks vacant. Notice how she pushes with her tail to give leverage for the look inside.

I think this is a female, with the male having more color on the wing tips. We like to have these seasonal visitors on the place. They take large numbers of mosquitoes from the air in the evenings.

It may not seem like it in the rain gauge, but summer is on its way.

Published in: on June 9, 2008 at 3:51 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Congratulations on getting the house project underway, and good luck with the garden. It seems like it’s been raining non-stop here for the past three weeks. The town I live in is actually in some danger of being cut off from the rest of the world due to the river and creek cutting over the interstate if we get the three inches of rain forecast for the next thirty-six hours. Thank goodness I live on the high side of town.

  2. Yike. Ours is (only somewhat above) normal, incessant seasonal rain, not the “God willing and the creek don’t rise” kind of rain. Maybe this will give you a chance to dip into your Y2K supplies (We still have a lot of chickpeas in the basement for some reason. I guess we thought we’d live on hummus if the world network collapsed.) Wishing you well in the next 40 days and 40 nights.


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