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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Celebrating Vernal Equinox 2012

Garden. Vernal Equinox 2013
 Earlier in the week, you honestly could tell there was a garden plot here. The bare, muddy earth was devoid of snow, though it had not yet begun to thaw.

Yesterday afternoon, however, an equinoctial storm began which over the course of the night and early morning deposited a good foot of snow across our part of central Maine. I parked the car at the road end of the driveway yesterday, expecting more than the Subaru could easily handle and knowing that I needed to be in town at 6 AM. I should have grabbed my snowshoes before taking flashlight in hand to begin my commute! We got a good foot of snow and some drifting. The town plow and filled the 5' deep area between the car and the road full up to the poor thing's "eyeballs." My tiny toy shovel that I had carried down with me threatened to break, but carefully and quickly I shoveled out the majority of the plow pile, taking tiny "bites" with the shovel at the pace of a crazed gerbil shredding paper. I was almost done when a neighbor on his way to work honked to alert me, put down the plow on the front of his pickup and swerved in to take one quick pass, clearing the remainder of the drive.  After that, the rest of the commute was a breeze.

While we don't have plants awakening for spring in the great outdoors, the forsythia that I brought in a couple of weeks ago chose today to begin opening their buds! So, on my altar at least, spring has sprung!

Giving new meaning to "kitchen garden..."
For our supper, in celebration of the turning of the wheel of the year, I prepared a chef's salad, including "baby greens" from the first bit of lettuce which I seeded in the planter the first of February. These lettuces will get seriously thinned and continue to grow  indoors. I have started the first batch of lettuce starts for the garden and will begin another round the end of the month. Lettuces are a plant that can stand a bit of frost, and I have even had 4" tall lettuce plants poking their heads out of a 3" late spring snowfall in Colorado. Neighbors commiserated with me, so they thought, over the "loss of my lettuce crop" (perhaps inwardly gloating, as  they had looked askance at my early planting date) only to be first surprised at my lack of concern and the by the lettuce continuing to thrive.

I toasted the change of the season with a glass of mead and tomorrow will seed cabbages and their kin. Spring IS on its way! Here in our part of Maine, our AVERAGE frost free date is May 15; snow in April is not uncommon, though it never sticks around long. Weather records indicate that we have had snow in mid-May. One must always stay in tune with the actual climate and weather conditions, and not forget the meaning of the word "average."