Green is the color of spring which officially arrived today, March 20! The Vernal Equinox marks the point in time when the sun sits directly over the Earth’s equator as it heads northward. Both hemispheres share the sun’s rays equally at the equinox. Light and day are roughly the same length.
The Spring Equinox is a joyful occasion centered around rebirth and growth. Yay! Spring is here! The Earth is coming alive again. Robins are fluttering around my yard gathering mulch and twigs and bits of shedding horsehair for their nests. Squirrels destroyed a cushion on my cypress swing by the firepit to line their giant nests in the tops of the honey locust trees with its stuffing.
The Earth is returning to a place of perfect balance, at least temporarily. I am looking at it as the opportunity to return some much-needed balance into my life. You can do this too!
Two days ago, it was the 17th of March and St. Patrick’s Day. I was wearing green and planting green….lettuce, spinach, green onions, and chard. In Colorado, this is still two months before last frost and most of the seed packages say plant 4-6 weeks before last frost, so I am early. But I am confident that some of the seeds will sprout and make it. Greens are hardy. If I have the luck of the Irish, they will “take”, and I will enjoy delicious greens from my potager in late April and throughout May before the heat sets in around June 1.
Potager, the French name for cottage or kitchen garden, is what I plant every year to have home grown produce right outside my kitchen door, which is just as the name intended. My large clay pot of chives, literally just outside the kitchen door, is always the first to burst into green sprouts and just like clockwork, there are tiny green shoots poking up from the dense thicket of last season’s brown. It’s a sure sign that spring is trying its best to arrive.
I was pleased that my packet of arugula seeds called this plant roquette, another French appellation which is perfect for my potager. I plant arugula in pots as it is hardy and very invasive and one year took over one entire raised bed. Later in the summer it sends beautiful wispy white flowers on tall shoots a foot high. But in a few weeks, I should be enjoying the peppery flavor of its leaves in salads. I read on the packet that you can also sauté the leaves as a warm vegetable, so I look forward to trying that.
The whiskey barrel planter by the deck is filled with yellow and red onion starts and last year, onions flourished here, so I am optimistic for this year. Later in the summer, after enjoying all the onions, so sweet they were yummy in salads, I re-filled the barrel with zinnia seeds and enjoyed a couple of months of blooming zinnias with their red, orange, yellow, and pink flower heads attracting monarch butterflies, bees, and sometimes hummingbirds.
I am risking planting early, but I have burlap coffee sacks to cover the beds in case of heavy snow and deep cold snaps which we are sure to get. But usually these spring storms are fast and furious and it’s only a couple of days before the snow melts.
Of course I cooked corned beef and cabbage for St. Pat's Day.
To heal my grief over losing Izzy, a quintessential Louisiana Catahoula hound dog and my long-time best friend girl, it felt great to have my hands in the soil. Her death was unexpected, and I buried her myself Saturday night a week ago in the dark after my foreman kindly rented an auger to dig a hole in the frozen earth earlier that day. She lies next to Moonpie, my red piebald Dachshund of almost 16 years and Riley the 16 year old barn cat who came with the property when we bought it 12 years ago. Three of my favorite animals are in a little cemetery by the pasture. I see them from my kitchen window. My heart is broken.
The bird feeders are filled, Ruby my new red wirehair Dachshund puppy is sitting in the wing chair with me warming up by the fireplace, and my heart feels less shattered for the moment. We are watching surround-sound bird tv, chickadees and juncos on the feeders in the living room windows and finches on the niger feeder outside the dining room windows behind us.
I am making a list of things we can all do to help balance the Earth. Here are five to consider:
· Remember to compost.
· Make delicious meals out of leftovers.
· Eliminate waste as much as possible.
· Never use pesticides. They kill bees and birds and butterflies.
Strive for a simple life.
Nature and earth heal. Happy Spring!