Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring is Bustin' Out

All last week we were hustling around getting the writer/advertiser/wholesale copies of the magazine packed to ship, mini-magazines off to conferences and shops, An Elder Gathering picked up from the printer in time for the herb festival on Friday and Saturday that we were also busy packing for, and trying to straighten up the digs for a visit starting Sunday from a very sweet house-guest.  It was a little bonkers around here, and the whole time there was that tick-tocking of the earth waking up.  We passed drifts of dutchman's breeches on the way to the festival, and splashes of spring green on the tips of trees.  Spring bulbs blazed from every front yard and baby farm animals pranced and kicked up their heels everywhere we went.  I was dying to get outside so in spite of the light rain today, I had to at least check the yard.  Everything has changed in a week and a half.
The field to the one side of the house has very few trees and the ground is scattered with jewels.  Dead nettle, dandelions, speedwell, violets, shepherd's purse, and mustards are just some of the blooms adding to the colors on the ground.

The black raspberries that we transplanted a few weeks ago are sending out leaves.

Yellow mustard will soon turn vast swatches of fields a brilliant yellow.  Often these patches are beside large patches of red dead nettle, turning the countryside into a patchwork quilt of beautiful colors.

All of the blueberry bushes are happy.  Several of them are blooming while a few others won't bloom for a few more weeks.  There is something so beautiful about these plants.  They mesmerize me.

The currants are already in bloom too.  The fruit trees (cherry, persimmon, elderberry) are still concentrating on leaves, but the bush berries are going like gangbusters.

These dandelion buds are amazing in that they are a bit bigger than a penny.  Looking around, they are all like that!  Must be something about the weather, or perhaps the difference between last spring and this one.  Whatever, they're huge.

Gooseberries with leaves full of rainwater.  They surprise me every year with the pure vibrancy they bring to the garden.

These simple unassuming maple flowers are such a bright spot in the yard!  You can barely see a leaf preparing to unfurl.  There is about a 2 week period each spring when the morning light is filtered through tender leaves that are such a perfect spring green.  It makes the kitchen feel magical, as if the air itself were full of springtime.  I love this tree.
One of the mustards.  Black, perhaps?  It is very sturdy and the leaves quite pungent in a salad.

Shepherd's purse has suddenly appeared everywhere.  The path between my gardens and the fields are full of it.  Lots of work to do, but in the meantime, this is beautiful too.

Pausing to look down over the back field, the white splashes are fruit trees lining the path down to the soap workshop.  Seriously, if I ever complain about my life, smack me.

This little tulip is very special.  Molly brought me a box of bulbs back from her trip to Amsterdam to participate in the Model United Nations with several of her schoolmates.  It's been 4 years, and this is the first bloom.  Her achievement in being on that team made me so proud, and the tulips will always glow and remind me each spring.

Violets have been steadily marching across the yard, and I've been happily allowing it.  There is very little grass in our yard.

When the violet flowers are finished, I intend to distill the leaves and see what we get.  We all know that violet FLOWER essential oil is found only in amulets worn by unicorns during the full moon, but violet LEAF essential oil is beautiful and I suspect that the hydrosol would be great for aging skin.  We'll see.  It seems like it would be best when the plant is finished concentrating on blooms to harvest leaves for this purpose.
There were many, many other lovely things that caught my eye.  Even the buzzards playing in the updrafts looks joyful! 
Tomorrow it should be dry enough to go into the woods and see what is happening there, and soon we'll take a trip to Shenk's Ferry to visit the unbelievable drifts of spring wildflowers.


Unknown said...

Everything has changed in the last week here too. Four days ago spring finally arrived. It went from below freezing to 62 F in one day, which made the snow melt really fast and flood a lot of places (including our driveway). No damage done here though. We only have to replace some gravel.

Vicki said...

You truly live among nature's apothecary Tina!
So many names I read of in my herbal books, that I have to buy dried - and you have many of them growing wildly at your doorstep, so lucky.
A magical part of the world indeed.

Happy Spring from sleepy Autumn :)