Today, my gardens looked like this:
This time of year, I need something to look forward to so I go out for pancakes and syrup, because sap boiling is a sign that spring isn't here yet, but it's getting close, and sugar shacks give me something to look forward to in what would be a month of mud and slush and fresh snow that nobody but skiers wants.
I need some brightness, so I buy bunches of daffodils every time I go to the store and cut branches of forsythia to force for our Easter tree.
I need to act like spring is coming, so I buy seeds anywhere I see them (and I never remember what I've bought so I always have way too much lettuce and peas and none of something else.) I never start seeds because I don't have a good place to do it, but last year I read about winter sowing in milk jugs. Today, in honor of spring, I started my garden.
I dug into the compost pile, clearing away a layer of snow and a layer of leaves. Underneath, instead of frozen ground, the new soil was warm and rich and fragrant. I scooped two small buckets full and added them to my pile of supplies in the kitchen.
I prepped the milk jugs by cutting them most of the way around and stabbing drain holes in the bottom. Kathleen helped me fill them and plant the seeds. I labeled them as we went along. We spritzed them with water, and I sealed them up with tape.
Then we put on boots and brought our mini greenhouses out to the sunny side of the house.
Now we wait—and hope. I didn't plant all the seeds. I'll stagger my plantings and use some to direct sow in the garden, whether or not our little winter (or spring) sowing experiment works.
We finished just in time to get Elizabeth up for her nap. We all took a walk around the block with hats but no mittens, boots but no snowpants. We ran into neighbors and stopped to say "Happy spring" and Kathleen and Elizabeth and their friend from around the corner ran in circles and giggled and shrieked. It was bright and almost warm and we stayed outside until we should have been done eating dinner.
Spring is coming. Today, even with a covering of fresh snow, I felt it.