It's been a cold March this year and I wasn't at all certain we would be able to get out and do our spring garden clean-up as so many Mainers still have snow covered lawns. It turned out, however, that this weekend was the perfect chance to get out there and rake, trim, prune, and mulch. Alex (thankfully, as it's a dreaded chore), tackled pruning the sixty feet of rosa rugosa hedge, and he has the thorn infested hands to prove it, despite the thick leather gloves he was wearing.
Some of the fruit trees and the pussy willow needed attention too, and now we have some stems to force into blossom for the house. Because the weekend was still so chilly, and only reaching the mid-30sF, burning a lot of the garden debris in the fire pit kept us warm and made clean-up easy. Plus it scented the crisp air with good, woodsy smells. Saturday afternoon, Alex and I even ate our simple lunch and had our tea around the fire, enjoying a bit of couple time as the kids were off with friends for the day.
On Sunday, the bikes were reclaimed and taken for their first ride of the year, and it has been duly noted that Adam's bike needs replacement, as I don't think his knees are meant to be reaching his handle bars. Always growing, those kids.
As we raked on Sunday, we noticed the cedar waxwings were visiting again, and they've been fairly constant companions all of March. They've completely stripped the two high bush cranberry viburnums and they continue to eat the fruit of the ornamental crab apple.
The sparrows are already cleaning out and claiming their nesting boxes and the cooing of the three pairs of mourning doves kept us company while we worked. Chickadees, also were hanging about, as they seem to come out when we come out, like the cardinals do; like neighbors looking to chat over the fence. We've had the occasional flock of starlings hanging about also, and in one episode last week, had us thinking for a moment that we had some poor, trapped, wheeking mammal in our chimney, when it was only one starling at the top of our chimney, chattering, clicking and chirping away.
By Sunday afternoon, we all sat together around the fire pit, enjoying our days' labor in the garden. The kids told us about their bike ride and when we finally became too chilled with the wind blasting at our backs, we went inside for corn bread and baked beans. It feels good to get this preliminary garden work done, as it did to be outside for two days straight, in the bright sun and among the birds. We saw signs of violets and crocus and daffodils; rhubarb heads emerging, wrinkled and red, buds fattening. Soon we'll have warmer days. Until then, spring in the garden marches forward, with a little love from friends.