If you asked me my favorite season... I'd always say fall or winter. I think I forget how much spring has to offer. New growth, apple blossoms, lush grass.... and things unfurling from their long winter's nap. The sweet smells of spring hang heavy in the air on damp days like this…And I echo those words. I always go on and on about how much I love winter, and that cold crisp invigorating air, but I have to say that once May comes to Windy Poplars Farm, the days are so perfect with their sounds and smells and sights that I think there is no other time as beautiful. After all those months, which begin for us in October, of gray and brown and white, this green just amazes me. I stare and stare feasting on this color. Even if there were never any flowers, I could be happy with only green grass and trees and bushes. Some days it feels like my eyes can't look enough.
Just last week I picked a cup of rhubarb for that great Apple Rhubarb Cake, and now all my rhubarb plants are huge. This is just one plant, and I took the picture after I'd picked the rhubarb!
Today I picked and froze 14 cups. And there is still so much more. Some people say to blanch it before freezing, but I never have. I just quickly rinse, chop, and put in freezer bags.
The lilacs have come and gone. There were a few beauties but mostly I think this was an off year for them. I've decided to cut off the old flowers. I've not done it very often even though all the books say to do so. We'll see if it increases the amount of flowers next year. If not, at least the old brown ones won't be there.
The honeysuckle is in full bloom. We have an old pink bush from when we lived in my childhood home.
A few years ago we planted a cream colored one along the fence and it has grown beautifully.
And then there are the Tartarian honeysuckles which are now considered an invasive species. We had planted them ages ago before the label. We tried cutting them down, and they just grew up again so we'll just let them quietly stay.
The violets were especially beautiful this year and have been in bloom for weeks now. We have whole bunches out in the lawn,
and Tom just mows around them this time of year. As you may see in the banner photo, the mountain bluets are in blossom. I've written about them before in my letters, and my favorite story is connected to a Eudora Welty book .
The bleeding heart flowers have appeared.
In the vegetable garden, we took a big chance and put out two tomato plants we started from seed.
We still have four more under the lights, just in case, but the weather forecasts haven't talked about any cold frosty nights in the near future. These plants are huge!
Truly, the biggest we've ever grown, and that may be due to this wittily named fertilizer called Chickity Doo Doo. I highly recommend it. And look at those hollyhocks! Speaking of hollyhocks, I've never had much success on this windy hill, so this year I decided to just think of them as annuals. I'm hoping they will bloom this year. They are the one flower I remember in my mother's flower garden - right up against the east side of the house. Here's hoping.
The peas are up,
and the lettuce is fantastic.
The leeks and onions are still pencil-like but they should come along.
My potatoes were sprouting so we decided to throw a few of them into one of the raised beds to see if they'll grow. We planted some beans from 2010 along the poles Tom put in last year. If they don't sprout, we've got some from last year that should work. Those bean poles haven't moved since Tom put them in last spring. They are sturdy and have withstood all the weather which winter brought.
We've planted corn in the space where the planter used to be, behind the daffodils.
And look at those panolas! Amazing, amazing little flowers.
I talked about them last month, and see how they've grown since then. They seem to be taking the place of weeds in the main walkway, and I say hooray.
Last month I reported that one of the goats died, and now we've had another death of a farm animal. This week Tom went in the barn in the early evening and one of the sheep was lying dead. Twelve years old. We can't wish a better life for a sheep. Grazing all summer, eating hay in the winter, being shorn in the spring. This is fullness of life for a farm animal on a vegetarian farm. Tom and Matt were out in the pasture digging the grave by headlights of the tractor.
Meanwhile, the remaining goat, Esther, continues to believe she is simply an outside dog. She has even walked across the terrace. The fence hasn't been made that can keep her from where she wants to go.
If you click on the picture maybe you can read the danger electric fence sign. Esther can't read it, and she just crawls through the strands whenever she feels like it.
Along with the little red squirrels and chipmunks, we have another dear visitor these days. One morning I looked out the bedroom window, and thought it was a stray cat down there next to the front door. I took this picture out the kitchen window.
Delightful creature. We've had a groundhog other years, and they never bother anything in the garden, except for parsley! And this year, we were hardening off some on the terrace that we had started from seed, and the dear little fellow found it. We don't begrudge any animal meals from our garden which may be why we've never had any trouble.
There is a lot of bird activity as you might expect. The bluebirds have returned, for the third straight year. This was taken through the screen so not very clear.
They are nesting in the house under the eaves.
Just across the hill from them are the swallows, back in their old home on the telephone pole.
The robins are somewhere nearby, possibly in the old apple tree. I hear the song sparrows and chickadees occasionally so I think they must be living close by. The phoebes are again in the barn, and they waken me each morning with their song.