Harbingers

To tell the truth, the farm is a little hard to love this time of year, especially on a day like yesterday: flat gray skies brooding over fields of gray frozen mud, only interrupted by tussocks of dead gray grasses and bare gray trees. It’s better on a clear day, like today, when pale blue skies promise spring. Or after dusk, when Venus burns high and pure in the cold western sky, escorted the past couple of nights by the thin crescent of the new moon.

New life brews underneath that monolithic grayness, though. The first of the early bulbs are just poking through the soil, and the sap is running in the maples and walnuts. The first robin of the season sang this morning outside our bedroom window. This weekend I heard the trill of the returning red-winged blackbird, which I always take as a good omen.

photoPlus, whenever I need a shot of spring tonic, there’s always greenhouse work to do. Yesterday afternoon, it felt like mid-spring in there, with little green seedlings pushing out of the dark soil, and the warm air thick with the good smells of growth. So far, I’ve seeded leeks and onions, celery and celeriac, parsley and kale, and the first of my scallion and lettuce successions. In April, the greenhouse work crescendos, but soon I can get out-of-doors and begin preparing the farm for the new season, which is where I really want to be.

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