Sunday, March 25, 2007

What's Growin' On: 3/25/07

A Small But Determined Sign Of Spring

Realization Of The Day:
Spring will burst through anything.

When I first moved to Missouri, I read that you were supposed to do something (Plant potatoes maybe? Hunt for morel mushrooms?) when the oak leaves on the trees were the size of a squirrel's ear. I found this piece of advice both funny and odd. A squirrel's ear? Please. How are you supposed to know how big a squirrel's ear is? All I knew was that it had to be small. Really small.

But that's how spring starts out each year, isn't it? Small. Baby buds on the lilac bushes, delicate blades of grass, one tiny grasshopper. But just as you would have to look very closely at a squirrel to figure out the size of its ear, you have to look closely or you will miss so many signs of spring. I don't think I'll ever stop being amazed by how all those barely visible sprouted seeds in the garden turn into full grown beets and heads of lettuce and bushes dripping with beans and tomatoes. How can they do that? And how does the transformation seem to happen in only a matter of days? (Well, unless you're waiting for the first ripe tomatoes of the season.)

I don't know what size the oak leaves are right now, but I do know they're here (and the morels aren't--I checked this morning). And so is our lone clump of grape hyacinths in the front yard. I'd forgotten all about it until I nearly tripped over it yesterday as I was on my way back from one of my numerous lamb-checking trips to the barn. I was so surprised I actually said "When did that happen?" out loud. I love grape hyacinths, and I could have sworn they weren't there the day before. But as far as I know, unlike mushrooms, they do not pop up overnight. They were there alright, along with the oak leaves and the lilac buds and the itty bitty purple flowers I found sprinkled over one of the fenced pastures this morning. I just hadn't taken the time to notice them.

Spring is here, in all its glorious busyness. Slow down, slow down, slow down. You'll never figure out how big a squirrel's ear is if you don't.

From Garden To Table:
For the past few weeks I've been picking arugula and three varieties of Swiss chard that overwintered in the greenhouse and tossing them into the nightly salad bowl. Fresh parsley, too. Green has never tasted so good.


  1. Never fails to interest me - how different just a few hundred miles can make the arrival of spring. Trees are almost all leafed out here - purple wisteria in glorious bloom and bluebonnets showing up along the roadsides. SPRING - yoohoooo! Can you tell we are NOT cold weather people? My 17 tomato plants are looking good and we already see a couple of blooms, potatoes need more soil pulled up around them and pepper seedlings in house about ready to put in larger containers for hardening. Thanks for sharing your early signs of spring - deep breath - enjoy enjoy - it'll FLY past.

  2. I'm so glad you're back to blogging here. I do love your beautiful pictures and stories.

  3. The past three springs I've been living in Pennsylvania (just outside of Pittsburgh) and it's been absolutely amazing to see how red spring is around here. The swollen buds on all the trees turn the hillsides and horizons brilliant scarlet, which stands out all the more against the gentle blue of the spring sky. Who says that fall is the most colorful time of year?

  4. my guess would be that you'd know the size of a squirrel's ear from seeing it while you skin it for dinner as lots of midwesterners find squirrel to be a delicacy...personally, i don't think they're big enough to go through all that trouble but my cat likes to catch and eat them.

    but yes, spring is here and i for one feel way behind!

  5. What a great post... the squirrel's ear made me smile.

  6. Thank you! I just sowed the seeds for this year's veg. garden (it's already in the 80s here in Norcal) and after the hectic turning of soil, fixing of sprinklers, amending of nutrients, rotating of compost, etc - the act of pushing seeds into the soil seemed so anti-climatic.

    All I could do was stand back and go, "OK seeds, GROW!" and wave my arms at them like a loon.

    I never get over sawing a huge pumpkin or melon off the vine when I know the plant was only a teeny seed just a few months before.

    Miracles I tell you.

  7. that picture completely makes my day. i find it so inspiring- thank you.

  8. Your pictures are amazing and you have a wonderful kitchen garden!
    You should consider entering a recipe and a picture of your plants in Green Blog Project that I'm hosting. Deadline is April 10,2007. Check out this link

  9. Hmmm........I simply love your garden. In singapore a garden is so hard to come by *sigh*

  10. Here on the eastcoast we're still feeling the tug between winter and spring. Maybe this upcoming full moon will be proactive and rid us of ol'man winter. I will have to enjoy your evening garden salad thru my eye's until my garden can take care of my tummy. Grape hyacinths!!!! Yeah...Love that color blue.

  11. It's too early for morels, hun. Even "down south" in Missouri. The ground has to warm up. Iowa's season is May, so you're probably a couple of weeks before. Nice picture.

  12. -- my neighbor showed me this site recently, and I know you are in MO -- and much further north than I am, but I thought it could be helpful for pests and other things. Plenty of good information.


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

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