Too Cold To Plant

IMG_3419I expected to be outside weeding and planting perennials by now, but the ground is too cold and too wet and not good to stomp around on in its current, compactible state. We’ve had some little lost snowfalls – forlorn flakes blowing around with a what-am-I-doing-here look to them.

The snow up in South Dakota got its act together, though, and is putting on a blizzard today. There’s an Indian reservation in the blizzard path where many homes had their power shut off for having overdue bills. I didn’t want to believe this at first – what kind of Simon Legree would turn off someone’s power in a blizzard? Didn’t the Indians pre-pay all their bills by giving up their land, their hunting grounds, and their means of support?

Social media takes a lot of hits for bad behavior, but in this case it helped. When the call went out for people to step up and pay some of these bills, the power company’s line was busy, busy, busy. I couldn’t get through, but enough people did that all the accounts are now current and the power back on. The larger question of how and why people were left unable to pay their bills and what to do about it is still unsolved, but at least no one’s going to freeze to death this time, in this blizzard.

This small-scale solution happened crocus close-upthrough personal connection – someone who taught at the reservation told her friends, who told their friends. The people shivering in the cold were no longer “them.” They became “us.” Small-scale solutions are often criticized as being a patchwork, but whole big, bed-covering, life-warming quilts are made that way. Patch by patch. Piece by piece.

April Arrives

We went from snowy to springish in very short order, and suddenly I had to get my seeds started. Doug brought the folding tables up from the basement to the second floor guest room, and I covered them with my collection of cut-off milk cartons halfIMG_3392 full of dirt. In went the seeds: Black Pearl and Supersteak tomatoes as usual, and a new bush variety I decided to try; Japanese eggplant; and cucumbers for my niece who likes to work in the garden with me. And lots of white Profusion zinnias. Seeds for the big zinnias will go directly in the ground, but I like to give these little ones a head start to help them stand up to marauding woodchucks. My neighbor tells me that when she sees the cartons lined up in that big front window, she knows spring is really on the way.

We had several bursts of very cold weather instead of a steady warming trend in late winter, and I suppose this is why all the flowering things are behind schedule. I helleboreknow they are because Facebook, helpfully, keeps sending me images marked “last year” and “two years ago today,” and what’s out there now is pathetic by comparison. But the hellebores and crocuses are holding down the fort, and I think there will be daffodils tomorrow. They’re that close to bursting out of their sheaths.

And the turkey buzzards have come back. Ah, spring.turkey vultures – Version 2