Spring, it’s a growing time

May 21 – When the weather turns warm, with plenty of sunshine, and a special kind of breeze, I just have to go outside! Lots of things to catch my attention in the world of animals and birds and insects, and I always come up with ,”Now what’s that?” as I see things in the distance. Usually I know if they come close enough. Of course, if I don’t know, Dale just about always does!

Bedstraw

Bedstraw

I helped him out the other day, though. I noticed he had brought in some weeds he had pulled, and was having a hard time checking out the weed books, trying to figure out its name. As he sat in the living room for a long time, I took a good look at the weeds, and keeping them beside me, I got on Google with the characteristics I could figure out. So many entries,that I almost gave up, but after while I held the weed stalk in my hand once more, and as I moved it around, I noticed what I should have seen in the beginning. A square stem.

Well, that was a good move! Right off the bat those words were in bold print in the descriptions. Finally! “Com’ere,” I called to Dale who called back, “Just a minute. I’m still checking out that weed!” When he came in to see what I wanted, he noticed the info staring him in the face. ‘Now, how did you do that?” he asked very surprised. “Bedstraw! Well, that’s what I found out yesterday and forgot to write it down! Bedstraw; that’s right!”

The end of the story? Not quite. That night he said he was going to write down the name so he wouldn’t forget this time. In the morning when we were awake, he asked if I happened to remember the name of the weed, as he had forgotten to write it down. Rather than giving the name, I pointed at the mattress, then the head of the bed, and finally moved my arms out as if I were expanding what I had just pointed to, making it all in one. With a quizzical look on his face, he finally asked, “What’s all that about?” After I went through the motions again, he suddenly said, “Oh, BEDSTRAW! OK, I’m glad you remembered!”

Lilacs at Clyde and Nan's home

Lilacs at Clyde and Nan’s home

Beautiful flowers are everywhere these days. When we visited Barney and Betty some days ago, I was especially attracted to the red and gold tulips, with the stems sticking right straight up, and the flowers open to the bright sunshine. Our tulips, purple and gold, are back on the little rise that goes down to the creek, and the red ones across the creek are both familiar and beautiful.

Our very light lavender phlox are blooming in the same area. Back at Betty’s the ones that have spread across the lawn in several places are the deep pink or light violet. Whenever we go to visit her, we look for the fist-size little metallic heads, some showing a mischievous face, others a very serious one, and still others with a commanding attitude. A number of years ago, we lost our big lilac bush, so it was a real pleasure to see and photograph the one off the back of the house where Clyde and Nan live. Such a delicate purple!

Dandelions

Dandelions

Of course, the dandelions have made themselves at home all over the lawn and pastures. As I have always commented, “If those bright yellow heads were planted from the greenhouse, and there were no other ones growing, how careful we would be to cherish them as we do various kinds of cultivated marigolds or pansies!” The fields are fast filling up with the bright yellow mustard flowers too, some areas with just a few plants, and others with almost the entire field full of them.

Dale getting ready to spray the plum tree

Dale getting ready to spray the plum tree

Our cherry trees were just covered with blossoms a couple weeks ago, but thanks to an unexpected frost, they will not give us the delicious sour cherries that we have enjoyed for a number of years since they first started bearing. I checked on the blossoms just about every day, looking forward to another big crop so that I could freeze the fruit and use it in cobbler or fruit soup in the winter. So it’s a real disappointment. And no pears, apples, peaches, or Cornelian cherries either, with just a very few Asian pears. The prune/plum tree is loaded. Dale sprayed it the other day, and plans to do that job again soon. We will have strawberries, though, lots of them, and some are almost ripe right now!

Tomato plants ready for planting

Tomato plants ready for planting

Dale just went out to check on the tomato plants standing in front of the barn with plywood sheets on both sides to protect them. Hopefully, we will get a chance to put them in next week. Earlier this month Dale used the tiller on three different days, digging up the garden plot, making the soil softer and more pliable, along with digging up the weeds that are always present both before and after planting.

Every year as I pour a tin can full of water into the hole Dale has dug, cover it with soil, and then plant the tomato, I am reminded of the days I used to help my dad do a lot of the by-hand planting in our huge garden. He pushed the digger down into the soil, moved it around a bit to get a bigger hole, and then moved on. I put in the water and the plant, and then filled all around it with the soft dirt.

When we planted potatoes, we had to choose the perfect time, as they were to be planted at the time of the full moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the moon. This was not only the best time for planting below-ground crops, but also for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, and mowing. Many times all of us kids, along with Pa, got soaked as the rain poured down, because no matter what, those spuds had to be planted at just the right time. All of the folks in the area thought that to be true, because they all checked out with the moon, or read Old Farmer’s Almanac! – CHRIS

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