I mean April.
Yes, that tells you how spring continues to not happen. Though I think, if the weather forecast is anywhere close to being right, we are finally about to have some real spring weather. Yay!
And also, happy Beltain! The annual May Day parade and Festival will be back this year. Yay! The event takes place the first Sunday of May, so a week from today. The parade is a community parade with floats and costumes and Native dancers, and at the end is the Free Speech parade where anyone can walk with their signs and banners. The Tree of Life Ceremony is even going to happen. In this ceremony The Heart of The Beast Puppet and Mask Theater puts on a performance at the edge of the lake in the park where the festival is held. The performance culminates in the Sun being rowed across the lake to shine on the Tree of Life and awaken the tree from winter slumber. The audience is arrayed across a grassy hillside looking down on the lake, and yes, there is always an audience participation piece.
The parade starts at noon, but you always have to be there early to get a decent spot. The Tree of Life Ceremony doesn’t happen this year until 3, which will make for a very long day. So James and I are trying to decide whether we want to see the parade or the ceremony, but not both. To spend all day there in the crush of people is too much for us. We did it once and we were exhausted afterwards. So we’ll see what we decide to do. Of course, if the weather is fine, we might skip it completely and spend the day in the garden—so much needs doing!
This weekend in the cold wind and gray skies, we bundled up and planted potatoes. This year I got two pounds of “Superior,” a yellow potato that is supposed to be good for baking and mashing, and one pound of “Adirondack Blue.” I only got one pound because this potato did so well in the garden last year we ended up with a small box of little potatoes that we saved to grow this year. Even though I closed them up in the box to keep them in the dark, and put them in the basement against a cold outside wall, they all sprouted and pushed the box lid open. We planted most of them, but I am not sure how well they will do. We will see. If they do well, I will save the small ones again but find a colder place to keep them. Maybe the garden shed? Though I’m not sure they wouldn’t freeze out there. Must think on it.
Even though the peas and carrots I sowed two weeks ago have not come up yet because it’s been too cold, I planted seeds for cabbage, beets, radish, and oil seed poppies. I’ve not grown poppies before and I wanted bread seed poppies, but the seed company was out of stock. The oil seed can still be used like the bread seed, but I think I can also grind them up into a paste if I want to. I don’t have any kind of press to make oil and wouldn’t have enough seeds to make it worthwhile anyway. Really, I just wanted pretty flowers that are also useful.
Cherry continues to do well. We had a lot of rain last week, which was a great benefit. And Serviceberry, who we moved from the Chicken Garden to the main garden, is thriving. The tiny buds on Professor Plum continue to swell. The currants, gooseberries, honeyberries, elderberry, aronia, bush cherries, and raspberries are all leafing out. The stinging nettle is coming up. The garlic is about 5 inches tall, and the little bubils I planted are sprouted too. The walking onions and chives are big enough we can use them in cooking now. Arugula is sprouting everywhere. The sorrel has expanded into a beautiful leafy clump. Violets are coming up all over too as is the curly dock. There is just enough spring greens that, with some kale to bulk it up, we had little green salads with dinner one night during the week. Heaven!
Indoor seeds, I’ve been working on slowly hardening off the onion starts so by next weekend I can plant them in the garden. Everything else is doing fantastic too but will need to wait until mid to late May before being planted out. The bell peppers are gorgeous, the cape gooseberries/goldenberries are looking strong, the marigolds are doing well too, and the muskmelon is making me dream of orange, sweet and juicy summer deliciousness. All of the winter squashes I planted last weekend have sprouted as have the sunflowers. I am hoping by starting these indoors that I won’t have trouble with squirrels digging them up. Also, the sunflowers will have had sufficient headstart so I can plant climbing beans next to them.
So in spite of October-like weather, my world is slowly greening and I have gotten my hands in the dirt a bit. My heart is happy and my spirits lifted. It also helped that a friend sent me a book called Rhapsody in Green by Charlotte Mendelson who is an urban food gardener in a truly tiny London backyard and a woman after my own heart. Plus, she is so very funny. Garden comedy is the best!
- Article: The Supreme Court Unleashed a Flood of Lawsuits Against Big Oil. I almost couldn’t believe it, but the Supreme Court actually did something good! They refused to allow various states’ lawsuits against Chevron, Shell, BP, Exxon, and others to move to friendly Federal courts. Now big oil will have to defend themselves in all these states—twelve so far including Minnesota. Why is this so amazing? Remember the lawsuits again tobacco companies? It’s like that.
- Poem: Playing with Bees by RK Fauth. I get a poem-a-day in my email from Poets.org, and this one came in yesterday. It gave me poetry stomach. And then I read it out loud to James because I had to share it and I almost burst into tears. On this last day of National Poetry Month, you need to read it too.
- Book: Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Fedrici. This is sooo good!. It’s like reading the source material for The Handmaid’s Tale except it all happened. And sadly, I can see it happening again. Or still. Witch hunts, racism, control of women’s reproduction, capitalism, it’s all connected.
Podcast: Missing Witches: Monica Sjöö: The Earth is a Witch and the Men Still Burn Her. I had never heard of Sjöö but she sounds like she was an amazing woman. Artist, author, activist, eco-feminist. I had to look up her art—wow! And her books. I will definitely be reading The Great Cosmic Mother sometime in the not so distant future.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. This was a truly terrible movie.
Gardening is not a hobby but a passion: a mess of excitement and compulsion and urgency and desire. Those who practice it are botanists, evangelists, freedom fighters, midwives, and saboteurs; we kill; we bleed. No, I can’t drop everything to come in for dinner; it’s a matter of life and death out here. Just give me another hour, or two.Charlotte Mendelson, Rhapsody in Green, page 7