I have been reading through old pieces of writing trying to find poems and seeds of poems to develop for a manuscript I’m putting together. I found a draft written in late April that talked about wanting to plant out in the raised beds– and harvesting rhubarb. I remember those old days when I thought I couldn’t plant outside until after the last frost date– which in these parts is May 15. And I remember the look on my friend Connie’s face when she realized I was waiting so long, and how I then learned the meaning of “when the soil can be worked.”
Today I’m all about the windowsill and the micro-climate. Things are starting to germinate out in the cold frame, where it is nice and toasty even though it’s cold and windy outside. It’s maple syrup time right now, when the freezing night/thawing day cycle is in full swing and the sap is flowing and if it was only warm for a few days at a time I’d start hardening off the kale and spinach for transplant. If it would get even in the high 20s at night I’d go ahead and put the spinach out in the cold frame.
But I’m holding off. It’s only late March– and March is going out like a lion this year. One can start planting seeds, maybe, but moving delicate seedlings? Not quite yet. I even got myself to hold off planting the tomatoes and peppers, since next week after Easter will be plenty fine. I ruthlessly thinned the kale and herb pots (only one kale plant or basil plant per small pot now).
To console myself, I’m growing a tray of sunflower sprouts. So, so fantastic. After only three days, they look like this:
With luck, in another four days, they’ll look like this:
And speaking of killing young kale plants that have struggled valiantly to grow under a light, these chicks are making me feel like an evil chicken trafficker. When I stick my arm in to check the water or add more food, they run under their lamp and chirp in fear. If I reach for one of them, they complain loudly and try to climb the box. Their reaction to me, even when I’m speaking in my most soothing voice and even though I’m such a benevolent overlord, is straight up panic. I need to detach.
Of course, there is also the situation with Fred.
My niece has suggested I name them Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe… and Fred. I knew right away which one was Fred, because there is one who gets pushed out away from the lamp more often. Well, Fred had a big piece of poop stuck to his butt yesterday. I cleaned the box, put in fresh straw and water and a better feeder that they won’t be able to poop in, and picked up Fred to remove the poop. It was really stuck on there. So now, I’m afraid, Fred has a bald butt.
Which makes it easier to tell which one is Fred. But also probably is a good reason for them to fear me. (Fred is in the back in this picture, with his butt keeping warm under the lamp. See how he’s giving me the evil eye?)