Embracing The Season

spring-brookLeo Tolstoy wrote that “Spring is for plans and projects.” With nature’s rebirth, there is an urge to rejoice in the thaw and the hope of growth.  I could feel the hope bubbling from the (still partially snowy) ground when the days got warmer and sunnier in Portland this week. I have been thinking of plans and projects since it got above freezing. Hello Spring!

ladyslipperIn the space of a few days, we got our first ice-cream stand treat at Lib’s in Portland, had a truck full of wood chips dumped on our yard in preparation for making some garden paths, bought spring green seed mixes for the garden (and contemplated putting them in the ground), ironed summer clothes and made iced tea. Rushing the season? You betcha.

I don’t know if I will ever truly embrace the winter here but my appreciation for spring and summer have multiplied. I understand why gardening is such a popular hobby in Maine in spite of the short growing season. After months of burying ourselves in scarves and down coats and hibernating, when we can finally go outside without a coat on, it feels downright magical.

Spring in Maine is horribly unpredictable, though.  You blow the dust off your flip flops and then it snows and you are back in boots. I was a bit dispirited to read in the Farmer’s Almanac that an unseasonably warm patch in mid-April (hello!) will be short-lived, as a late-season snowstorm follows right on its heels here in the northeast. Cold temperatures, it says, will persist through early May.

Perhaps the seeds aren’t ready for the ground yet but our enthusiasm does not need to fade. After all, warm weather does eventually come and stay, right? Right? So, with that in mind, here are five things I do now, even if temperatures alwaysinseasoncoverdip, to help me get in the spirit of the season.

1.Buy some seeds. Even if you don’t have much space, you can grow some lettuce or herbs in a container.

2.Walk Back Cove in Portland as often as possible.

3. Open up Elise Richer’s book “Always in Season” and get ideas for what to do with spring produce – like fiddleheads, garlic scapes and arugula.

4. Bike a part of the Mountain Division Trail (or at least get the bike tuned up so it’s ready for the trail)

5. Sprout some seeds indoors. This is a satisfying, inexpensive and easy project for adults and kids.