Spring 2016

I do love spring in Michigan. I’m not really sure that I’d call it my favorite season. In fact I am happy to live in a place where we can enjoy the unique qualities of each season, seeing the earth come alive in the spring, then the summer heat and growing season, followed by the crispness of fall and the glorious colors when the leaves change, and while I’m not a huge fan of cold weather I do enjoy a fire in the fireplace and snow in the winter.

To me spring seems to be a magical time. As we walk our farm I am fascinated by seeing the life emerge from below the ground. I observe the daily changes in the vegetation as the trees get their buds then the  buds turn to leaves and blossoms. I enjoy walking in the wild areas of the farm and trying to identify the various plants, as much as I love seeing our first asparagus shoots appear, the blueberries blossoming, or picking a piece of green garlic and chewing on it.

I have to say that I am truly thankful for my husband who also has a great appreciation for nature. We shared the excitement of watching the daffodils flower, we were delighted to see the bees foraging on the dandelions, and we marveled this year as our forsythia’s, that were just small twigs 4 years ago when we planted them, have brightened the back of the pond with their beautiful yellow blossoms. Yellow is the color of early spring on our farm. A very appropriate color in deed. Yellow is a happy color. It makes me smile.

My husband doesn’t think it’s corny when I give him daily reports about what is blossoming. He indulges my crazy ideas, and he will help preserve the natural beauty of our farm by doing things like moving wild rose plants before we disturb the ground in which they reside.

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These rocks have become my rose garden. Four wild roses have been relocated here. They are all doing well.

He has also designated an area where we can transplant Mullein this year. We have discovered mullein coming up in several areas where we will be mowing, and rather than kill these valuable plants we have decided to give them their own spot. Mullein is a medicinal plant which I will use for teas, infused oils and tinctures. This website explains it’s uses http://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html

We also enjoy bringing new life to our farm. So far this year we have planted 4 basswood trees, 3 willow trees, 25 new asparagus crowns which are sending up small shoots, a row of potatoes which are beginning to grow, a small row of sugar peas, and two rows of cabbage.

We also planted my Mother’s Day gifts from Tina and her husband Ken. Tina knows of my love for growing things so she called me a couple weeks ago and said rather than her just picking out something, she thought it was a good idea to ask what I wanted.  Upon going to the website of the nursery she shops at I discovered that they had the one plant that I thought would be hard to find. Solomon’s Seal.

Solomon’s Seal grows in wooded or shady areas, and although we have some wooded areas where Solomon’s Seal might grow wild I had never noticed it growing on our farm. It is another plant that has desirable medicinal properties, and even though I will not harvest it this year I intend to use it for teas, infused oils and tinctures in the future. You can check out this website to learn more http://www.herbcraft.org/solseal.html I also planted the three Thyme plants, that Tina and Ken brought me, in the prayer garden.

The new life of Spring is not limited to plants. We had the first hatching of tadpoles in the pond this week. I believe these are baby toads since we have seen many toads in the pond lately. Toads are beneficial for the farm as they live on the land and eat insects, grubs and slugs that that might cause problems in the gardens.

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Another part of spring in Michigan that we enjoy is seeing the birds return to the area. Seeing the first Robin and Red Winged Black Bird are sings that Spring is here. We have fun watching the Killdeer protect their nest by doing the broken wing act to make the dogs chase them in the opposite direction. We also try to identify birds we are not familiar with.

This year we have two birds that have become rather annoying. One is a duck who is visiting our pond regularly. Since we use our pond for swimming and fishing as well as irrigation we really don’t want ducks in the pond. There are many other ponds in our area that go unused where this duck could stay and no one would care. Even though we tell Trooper and Scout to chase it away whenever we see him, he just keeps coming back. The second is a robin who likes to sit in the maple tree outside our bedroom window and sing. There is no nest being built there, and there are plenty of other trees in the area, but this robin insists on sitting in this particular tree, every morning in fact. It starts singing before the sun comes up – sometimes as early as 3:30 a.m. While we are usually up around the time the sun comes up, and it may be true that the early bird catches the worm, we find this birds wake up calls to be a little too extreme. I do suppose this is one well-fed robin.

 

 

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