Common Ground



Photo ©DCarew

“….stormy March has come at last,

With wind, and cloud, and changing skies.”

William Cullen Bryant

Sitting on the steps of my front porch recently I could hear the roar of rushing water in the distance. Warm days and melting snow have turned placid Baxter Creek into a raging river. The old beaver dam has a bigger hole in it now than when it first washed out last spring. I was hoping the beavers would repair it but they have moved house. It was fun while it lasted to be able to paddle my little red canoe around the pond.

Deer have emerged from the bush as they do every spring to eat what remains of the apples under the snow on the front lawn. There is no wintered over kale for them to graze on this year. My kale growing days are over, I fear, as I have decided that spinach tastes better. So long trendy vegetable. I’ll make an exception for Russian red kale which is attractive enough to grow as an ornamental.

Days are getting longer at last. Garlic in the pantry is turning green inside and indoor plants are starting the grow again.

I experiment every year with bringing annuals in for the winter. A couple of nicotine seedlings I potted up in October have been flowering since the end of January. A mini snapdragon that was just a tiny seedling last fall is also flowering now. And some of the gazanias I got from Jim Lunn at the market are about to flower. The gazanias were planted on the west side of the house last spring. They flowered all summer and in the fall they still looked so healthy that I couldn’t bear to let them freeze. Even after spending the winter in the house they look glossy and green and healthy and they cheer me up immeasurably.

I’m also cheered up by the pot of mini daffodils that has been flowering for at least three weeks on the kitchen table. These are a great antidote to late winter gloominess and can be planted outside this fall. They multiply quickly and are happy naturalised in the grass.

I fertilise the indoor vegetation (except cacti) in the middle of February when the days start getting longer. Plain old Miracle Gro from the hardware store will do for this. No need for anything fancier or more expensive.

My seed orders arrived in January. I ordered early this year since I needed new tub trugs for firewood. Later I’ll use them in the garden but for now they are the best firewood carriers I have found. And if you have a couple of bored by winter cats as I do, a large cardboard box arriving in January brings very good entertainment value.

As thoughts turn at this time of year to spring cleaning and household decluttering, I wonder does anyone really go through their house and ask themselves if each thing sparks joy? Have you ever heard of anyone actually doing this?

I can’t imagine myself holding up, say, a pair of visegrips or a rolling pin and asking myself that question. Nothing to do with visegrips in my experience has ever been joyful but I wouldn’t want to be without them.

I think the solution (and definitely not an original thought) to household management is to treat everything in the house like cutlery. You know where the spoons are right? Just do that with everything else. I aim for this but, alas, am not quite there yet.

For the organisation of household supplies there is the British Navy System or replace the replacement. This ensures that you don’t ever run out of anything important.

There. I just saved you the cost of many weighty tomes about household organisation.

You’re welcome.

Happy spring.

By Jill Williams

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