May Miscellany



On this eighth day in May, out here on the Fox Lake Road, one big pile of snow remains in my yard. It is on the west side of the garden shed, so it misses the bright morning sun. A little more protection is contributed by the wild chokecherry tree on one side, and the field on the other. Unless we get a big rainstorm, I think it may last until June!

Not twenty feet away from the unseasonable snow mound, the forsythia is in bloom. Just across the side yard, at least four different types of narcissus are showing off their brightest yellows and oranges. Hyacinths perfume the air just outside the kitchen door. Snowdrops, which started flowering a month ago, right through the snow, are still putting forth their pale blue blossoms.

Last evening, I opened windows to let in some fresh air, along with the sounds and smells of spring. The air turned cool in the night, but I was toasty warm under the covers. This morning, I woke up when I heard the furnace come on. That drove me out of bed in a rush to close windows; I have no intention of trying to heat the outside!

The sun has come up bright and strong. The big dog is napping on the back porch, in a pool of sunshine. I stripped the bed first thing, with the intention of washing the sheets and hanging them outside on the clothesline to dry. Though it’s my day off, I have no other household projects planned for the day. There is plenty to do outside.

Through the last week, with so much yard work to catch up on, I’ve kept to a specific after-work ritual. I greet the dogs, and invite them outside. I stow my bags inside the door. I pick up my bucket and hand cultivator, then drop to my knees. Anywhere in the yard, as it all needs attention.

It is slow progress, but steady. One day it was the peony bed, another the long day lily bed. I spent several days weaving my fingers in between daffodils to pull out the grasses that have already moved in, and the fallen leaves that provided passage for them. At least one hour on my knees, every day, before I think about walking the dogs, making dinner, and all of the other things that fill an evening.

Today, with more time to at my disposal, I could tackle a bigger job. The lawn mower could be cleaned, oiled and put to good use in my yard, which never did get that last fall mowing before the snow came. Clearing the yard of leaves and windfall is another all-day job. I could plant peas and lettuce in the garden; they can stand the cool weather. Blackberry brambles need to be cut back from the side yard where I keep the compost bin. They moved in, and their sharp thorns have made emptying my bowl of kitchen scraps a hazardous affair. The garden shed still needs a coat of paint.

As I plot out all the things that need to be done, I waver. On the one hand, there is no time to waste: before I know it, the time for planting the garden will be past. It will only take one good rain to bring out the mosquitoes, and any work in my yard will be impossible without full armor of chemicals and netting. Soon, the summer season will be full upon us, and my energy will be sapped by the busy-ness of my work days. The time is now.

And yet…this is May. The forsythia is in bloom. The yard smells heavenly. This is the perfect time of year – before the bugs come out – to wander the woods with the dogs. There, the Dutchman’s Breeches, Spring Beauties and Trout Lilies are blooming. The wild ramps scent the air with the smell of onion, and will soon be ready to harvest. In moist areas, there is hope of finding morel mushrooms. If I’m going to take time to enjoy this season, the time is now.

So, what to do? For now, I think I’ll pour another cup of coffee and think about it.


6 responses »

  1. I envy everyone in the northern hemisphere at the moment because Spring is my favourite time of year. Sadly, we are in late autumn with only 22 days until winter =(

  2. Oh, we are so much in the same place right now, Cindy. No snow here – we’ve gone straight from winter to summer – but otherwise, we’re identical. There is so much work to be done outdoors. When I’m cutting away the vines that are strangling some of my trees, my dogs can be out with me. But when I’ve got the chainsaw going to clean up trees that have fallen in some of our massive windstorms, or when I’m driving the lawn tractor with its trailer attachment to pick up the brush, or when I’m burning that brush, my poor dogs are inside looking out at the sunshine.

    I feel as if I’m racing the clock. I could burn every non-windy day for the next two months and I’m thinking I should because it’s too hot to do any burning in the summer. But, like you, I don’t want to miss the season by being too busy to enjoy it.

    I’m currently having a cup of peppermint tea and thinking about it.

    • Oh, poor puppies! Every now and then, when Rosa Parks is unable or unwilling to walk with us, I close her in the house,just to be sure she won’t try to follow Darla and I down the road when we’re too far away to protect her. It’s necessary…but, oh, the guilt! Her sad little face at being left behind just breaks my heart! I’m sure you feel the same way, when your dogs can’t be outside with you.
      I LOVE spring, don’t get me wrong…but it is HARD! There is so much to enjoy, yet there are so many deadlines, too. If the garden isn’t planted in a timely manner, I’d may as well forget it, here where our season is so short. If I don’t get the weeds out of the flower bed now, they’ll have their way for the whole season. Transplanting should have been done already. And on and on. Meanwhile…spring fever, when I just want to sit and read! Thanks for commiserating with me, Karen; it’s good to know I’m not alone!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s