A new beginning

The daffodils can’t wait for the snow to melt.

Like most bears, Farmer Bear and Little Bear stay inside and sleep a lot in the winter, but with the spring thaw it will soon be time to get to work. Right now Farmer Bear is probably thinking about how many melons and carrots to plant, while Little Bear is wondering how tall his sunflowers will get this year.

As for this author, here in northern Illinois we had a very cold and snowy January and February, with as much as two feet of snow on the ground for weeks and sub-zero temperatures. But then March arrived and it was like a switch was flipped. It warmed up, the snow started to retreat, and things started to feel a lot more comfortable.

Mother Nature is clearly in a hurry to get started with a new year of growing. Today I went outside to see what the flower beds looked like under all that melting snow and was surprised to see how many bulbs had already started to sprout. As exciting as that is though, then the worrying starts again. Are they getting too wet? How can I keep the bunnies and squirrels from eating them before they have a chance to grow and bloom?

After the winter these are good problems to have, because it means days of working in the soil, picking veggies and driving to Home Depot on my lunch break to get more dirt, seeds, plants or numerous other things that you suddenly realize you need during the course of the growing season.

I know there will be successes and disappointments this year. I just don’t know what they will be. That’s part of the fun of planting a garden, even if those failures don’t seem like much fun at the time. I’m hoping to build on the things I learned last year and avoid repeating some mistakes. I’m also hoping to try new varieties, new plants and new methods of doing things.

As much as I want to charge outside with a bunch of seeds, there’s still inches of snow on the ground in some places, and we’re a long way away from when it’s safe to plant most things. More snow is by no means out of the question. But I remember last year my first crocuses were blooming on St. Patrick’s Day, which is only two weeks away.

The reason I like spring so much more than fall is in spring, things are on the upswing. Days are getting longer, warmer, plants are starting to grow, birds are returning. When it’s sunny and 55 degrees it feels amazing. I know it’s technically still winter, but with the beginning of March it feels like we’re turning a corner. Let’s get this started!

I want to close with a song lyric that always makes me think of springtime:

“The earth spins and the world goes round
The green comes from the frozen ground,
And everything will be made new again,
Like freedom in spring.” – From the song “Golden” by Switchfoot

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