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.


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

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16 thoughts on “Goodbye October

  1. Hey, Stefanie, I just saw this blog post and thought you would like it. The author of the post is a Deaf artist in Australia who tries to avoid all forms of waste. She even sews underwear out of old t-shirts, etc. Anyway, this post has pictures of her house in which everything is salvaged materials. She gardens for food production, and also built the house herself. https://helloasphyxia.wordpress.com/2023/05/04/tour-of-my-house-and-garden-2014/

    1. OMG, thank you for this! What an amazing house! I would totally live there. And her gardens are fabulous too! I already had her book on my library to read list because of you, now I have subscribed to her newsletter 🙂

      1. Oh, yeah, I’ve been subscribed to her newsletter ever since I read her book. Her ideas about environment, reliance on consumerism and oil, her approach to guerilla gardening. It’s all wonderful. And she really lives like that! I did ask if she still lives in that house, and she said that after a split with her actually couldn’t live there anymore, so I’m pretty sad about that. I have to imagine that wherever she’s living she’s still doing the same kind of a gardening and do it yourself approach to life. Plus, she writes a lot about Deaf culture and oppression, so it’s educational, too.

        1. From what I can tell from her posts, she has a new place, though not a DIY house like she had, but lots of garden, so that’s good!

  2. So weird to hear good news coming out of the Supreme Court.

    The parade and festival sound like fun! Hope you enjoy your day.

    It’s been a cool spring down here – cool for us – I’ve gotten to plant some things but feel like I still want to do more. It’s finding time that’s the tricky part (and days off that aren’t rainy too!)

    1. Right Laila? It’s probably the only good thing SCOTUS will manage for who knows how long.

      It’s looking like we probably won’t make it to the May Day parade or festival. Saturday is supposed to be rainy so we will need Sunday for garden time. We will make our own festival 🙂

  3. I received sun flowers last year, and after they died, I just left them in the pot outside. Will they come back? My lawn is covered in violets, but eventually the dreaded lawnmower came out. This week my assignment for therapy was to make a list of self-care things I can do, and I added buy a plant each week. I hadn’t realized how sad it made me that so many of my cacti died last year after a mealy bug takeover.

    1. Were your sunflowers the tall single stalk sort with big flowers? If so, they are annuals and will not come back. Though maybe some seeds fell and will sprout if no critters ate them. Spring violets are wonderful! Did you know the green leaves and flowers are edible? Too some in a salad 🙂 I highly endorse buying plants! I find cacti hard to keep alive. I always over water them and then they get smooshy and die. So I stopped trying to grow them because of the guilt.

      1. I think my sunflowers were single stalk but had lots of sunflowers on each one? So, I guess that means they were somewhat branched? We shall see. Cacti are tricky because you don’t want to over water them, but it always feels like it’s been 100 years since you last watered them. On the other hand, if you leave them in the window in direct sunlight, they will also get a sunburn!

        1. Hmm, I think your sunflowers were probably annuals, but maybe they’ll surprise you 🙂 The fact that a cactus can get a sunburn is kind of hilarious 😀

  4. We’ve finally had a warm weekend here and I’m hoping it’s heading your way. Sounds like all sorts of good things are going on in the garden and with the young sprigs getting ready for their big move out to it!

    I can’t believe this Supreme Court actually did something that isn’t completely corrupt–who would have thought it. Thank you for the link to the Fauth poem, it’s marvelous and sadly spot on. Whatever you decide to do this coming weekend, enjoy!

    1. I think spring has finally made it! We’ve had three days in a row of sunshine and warmth. Glorious!

      Heh, I was surprised at the SCOTUS decision too. Now if we could only get them to make more good decisions.

      So glad you liked the Fauth poem. I am looking forward to being able to borrow her book from the library once it’s published.

  5. I will keep every good thought for y’all to finally get some spring weather. I wish I could send you some of ours! We’ve been very up and down the last few weeks, but I think we’re pretty much settled into summer weather at this point. :/

  6. Yep, poetry stomach. Thanks for the tip! We think we are impervious to the ‘outside’ when we literally and metaphorically can’t exist without it.

    Still, I’m glad I’m done with April. It does get tiring. Poetry shouldn’t be tiresome.

    Have you seen Rhyd Wildermuth’s ‘book club’ essays for Caliban and the Witch? They start here: https://rhyd.substack.com/p/caliban-and-the-witch-preface-and
    This part of his Substack space is free. He’s always interesting.

    Vermont is still in March… Or maybe we’ve skipped summer altogether and we’re moving into November. I catch myself thinking that I need to be making Midwinter plans… and then I remember, no… spring… as unlikely as that feels.

    1. I think the poem did a amazing job pointing out how much we rely on the non-human world for everyday language.

      Thank you for the link to Rhyd Wildermuth’s book club on Caliban! I started reading their essays and they are fantastic!

      Spring has finally arrived here. As of yesterday I had tiny pea sprouts! I hope your garden is warming up and looking green!

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