Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Springtime for Real

Daddy and the twins laugh as they play ball
in the gloaming.
Outside dark is falling, and I've just come in from the back yard, where the boys and Daddy are still playing ball and climbing on the playset in the warm air. The daffodils that bloom where our old dogwood once grew are fully open like creamy yellow giant stars. In a yard out on Ashland Avenue behind us, an ancient tulip tree is in full bloom, and there is the barest haze along the branches of a nearby redbud that tells me it's not too many weeks before that is in bloom too.

Yet, this first official day of spring, traces of winter linger. The grass is spotty, especially where the crabgrass has taken over :} The hostas are bare nubs, and eveningtime cools quickly. If we are lucky this evening, some rain, although I am not able to read the clouds rising out of the west, as they often do at nightfall. Do these bear good spring rain?

Now it's quiet, and the voile curtains in here flutter with the air from the open windows. The boys are on their way up for their wash-up and change into nightclothes. No bath tonight, despite the fact that we spent another three hours in the soil, planting the early vegetables in square-foot plots: Simpson lettuce, mesclun greens, red core carrots, and Cherry Belle radishes. Their first real garden. Watered with their red plastic snail watering cans, and marked with tongue-depressor signs.

What boys like Daddy and Christopher do in springtime.
It's been yard work, not sewing, all weekend long and now the beginning of the week, too, with more to come tomorrow. First it was the annual liriope trim along the street, and general tidying up in front. Then, yesterday afternoon, as I contemplated the hated crab grass out back, I thought to dig it up. Noah noticing, he mentioned that he so wanted to plant our garden. I looked at the dried-out patch along the driveway, scant feet from an existing flower bed. Well, this was one of our few sunny spots; that's why the crabgrass thrives. Much of the yard lies in the shade of large trees. Why not put a garden here? Sure, it's beneath the basketball goal, so I predict some accidents, but maybe we can erect a clear plastic mesh protector if needed, down the road.

Noah and Christopher point at their new garden plots.
So I fetched the tools and we were off to the races. Before too many hours we were edging our results with brick, just as most of the other beds are edged. Christopher, refusing to nap, hooked his little fingers in my jeans belt loops, endangering my pants, and walked along with me, or sat with trowel in hand as we rescued earthworms or threw grubs onto the drive for the birds to enjoy. We have enough grubs to do serious damage, so population control is in order.

What cats like Muffin do in springtime.
Today, the work continued, with the edging continued to its natural end, and we planted our seeds. The boys placed and tossed -- depending on the moment -- their seeds onto the waiting soil, and we covered them up, and they had a happy time at the hose filling their watering cans.

Until perhaps a half hour before the long project was done, some six-seven hours in length total, the boys were right alongside all the way, passing trowels, looking for treasures underground -- the occasional piece of broken pottery -- helping me trundle their wagon to the back shed to collect old bricks to use as edging. I'd ask if they were bored, and if they wanted to go play, but no, they wanted to stay with me and with the project. A happy shock. Their first really serious project, other than cooking with me :}

The completed garden bed, at left, and edging of
the rest of the flower bed, snaking to the right.
The other edging along the fence I did last year. Brute labor.
Now we're all tired, three pairs of pants are filthy, my hands are chapped and nicked, but happy all four* of us, for Daddy played with his tots after his workday, Mama built her garden and tidied the grounds, the boys had fun all around, and springtime is here.

*Six, when you include two kitties dizzy with springtime scents, and itchy with too much wintertime fur. Escape to the outside and roll, roll, roll!


Sarah said...

What a fun day! These simple times are truly the very best!


Jenni said...

Somehow I missed this beautiful post! I love the new garden. Where did you get your bricks? I'm looking for more for our flower beds.

ZipZipInkspot said...

Thank you both!

Jenni, the bricks came from the stash created when we redid the back of the house; we're saving them for a patio but I can have a few for flower beds. Many are in poor condition: I have to whack the mortar off the ends and sides with a hammer and chisel, or just a trowel (ppor trowel!) when lazy :}

Not sure where you get them around here...perhaps Cowgirl Attic? Yes, ask there first...they may know. What with all the old warehouses coming down surely there must be mounds of brick somewhere.

Very best,