About 3 weeks ago - say around 5:00AM I was in the garden planting my second row of peas and doing a general walk-around to see how my flowers and shrubs were doing. This has been a morning ritual these last five years. I was just putting my tools away when I slipped on a slope covered with dewy grass, my leg twisted while coming down. I let out a scream, rolled over on the grass. I immediately knew I had broken my ankle. I writhed in pain for some minutes until it finally clicked to scream for Charlie who was dead asleep upstairs.
After screaming a couple of times and calling his name, he woke. It was good to see him coming around the corner – he was such a welcome sight. His first reaction was to cut two splints. In retrospect, that was really funny. How was he going to get me out of there? I said to call 911 but he kept insisting he’s taking me. It took several screams to get him to react. Five minutes later, the paramedics came around the corner and wheeled me out of there into the ambulance.
Long story short, I had surgery on my ankle, pins and all. I had broken it in three places, torn the ligament. Oh joy. So here I am feeling sorry for myself, wheeling around in a wheelchair. Charlie bathes me and cooks all the meals. He is so attentive. I don’t know what I would do without him. He orders in sometimes. We had the best Chinese food last night. Friends come to visit sometimes but they all have their own lives. I watch endless hours of TV. Thank goodness I am still able to work. That’s because all I need is my computer and my phone. It’s a lifesaver as I would go loonie without something to do.
So bear with me. I should be back in my garden before the summer is over. Maybe August?
It’s been a slow beginning this Spring. A year ago last Fall I planted 20 daffodils. That following Spring, one little one appeared. This Spring, five appeared. Some of the tulips are now up. I don’t think I’ll plant any more tulips. They don’t spread like daffodils – maybe that’s why they are so prized. Anything difficult seems to be more prized. Like roses, for instance. And speaking of which, one of my rose bushes died. Could have been the harsh winter we had. They are finicky, aren’t they?
First thing every morning, I take my coffee and do a walk-about in my garden to see what’s going on. There is lots of leafing-out going on but my favourite fleeceflower still seems to be dormant. Maybe it’s just a late getter upper. Who knows. Here in the North, gardening is so different from the tropics. There you just have to stick something in the ground and before you can turn around, it’s growing.
It occurred to me that if a garden isn’t beautiful twelve months of the year then it’s not a beautiful garden. So, last weekend we drove to a tree farm and bought more evergreen shrubs. They are always wonderful but they really shine in the winter when everything else is bare.
Everything is popping up everywhere. When I say that I mean little green things are poking through the ground like little periscopes checking out the temperature to see if it’s safe to come out. The only colour so far is coming from one of my crocuses and then – just. What a brave little flower you are.
The woody shrubs have buds up and down their stems. My Japanese maple which I so adore is looking pretty healthy. The perennials of course are not yet waking up. They need warmer weather. The cedars I planted last summer look like they survived the brutal winter. Knowing southern Ontario weather like I do, the heat will pop up almost overnight and suddenly everything will happen at once. And then to spoil it all, the bugs will arrive – mosquitos, black flies, horse flies and such. Well, it’s all part of nature and they usually don’t bother you except at sunrise and sunset. At least we don’t have alligators or poisonous snakes – just the little garters and they don’t hurt anything. They have no teeth.
It’s still looking pretty bare. In fact the transition from winter to spring is probably the least attractive time of year – just the most exciting. As the frost comes out of the ground there is a lot of squishy lawn and you should do your best not to walk on it too much until it’s all dried out so you don’t compact it too much. Ah but the anticipation…….
Oh there is still snow on the ground in places. Patchy snow. But I’m noticing life peaking through the earth. The tulips and crocuses are just now breaking through the soil as too are sedum. In fact wherever you look you see life stirring. Finally. It seems this has been the winter of winters – long and so very cold and snowy. But we in Southern Ontario shouldn’t complain. The Maritimes had it 100 times worse.
The snowbirds are back. That’s always a sure sign. You’d be surprised how many of our neighbours disappear for a 3 month stretch every winter. Maybe I’ll do that one day as well if I can ever tear myself away from my house. I like winter. I like the coziness of a fireplace and winter food like thick soups, stews and casseroles. What’s not to like? Oh well, I’ll take a day at a time and see where life leads me.
For now, hurray for Spring. Mud, dirt and all, we welcome you.
So, I’m dreaming about the big melt which will come – eventually. Meanwhile, the polar vortex came back, it left for a day or two and came back. So, no big melt this week.
I figured out what I need for the front yard – an Amur Maple. It seems to fill all my wants in a small tree – flowers in Spring, nice leaves to shade the porch in summer, bright red fall colour.
Today I ventured out to have a look at what’s what. Since the temperature is currently above freezing, there is some melting going on. The sidewalks had been cleared and so I could walk on them but where there has been melting, there are ice patches. This afternoon the temperature will be dropping and we’re heading for a cold spell again.
I tried walking on the snow covered lawn so I could inspect some of the shrubs that are reaching above the snow and, in the process, sunk knee-deep in said snow. Clearly, we are not meant to walk on it yet. I guess in a couple of weeks the temperature should warm up enough for us to have a real melt.
From now until all the snow is gone and the frost comes out of the ground, it will be ugly. The change from winter to spring is never pretty. We should be grateful, however. I have just finished watching part two of the Dust Bowl of the 30′s in and around Boise City Oklahoma. Ten years of drought and dust storms during the Great Depression. How the people suffered, I can only imagine. What a wonder more didn’t die. So, I’d better stop my bitching about melting snow and ice and such.
OK, I’m done.
It looks like in the short term at least, warmer weather is coming. It will still be around freezing but not the bone-chilling kind. In fact, next weekend they’re calling for rain. So that means, slush, muck and guck. It’s always this way when seasons change, especially from Winter to Spring. The frost comes out of the ground, the lawn is all bumpy. You don’t want to walk on it, that’s for sure.
Hey, I’ll take it.
So out of pure nostalgia, here are some shots to remind us of the crazy winter of 2013-2014.
No big surprise here – six more weeks of winter. I’m told we’re in for another storm by Wednesday. Oh joy. There’s talk of closing roads if there is much more snow. There just isn’t anywhere to put it all. The snowbanks are getting so tall and wide, it creates a safety hazard as you can’t see oncoming traffic as you’re pulling out of your driveway. As long as I can keep my hairdresser appointment tomorrow, I guess I’ll be grateful. For the rest, we’ll just have to ride it out.
And for those of you who always wanted to know the origin of Groundhog Day and why it’s always February 2 – well you’ll have to Google it but the short version is this; the day marks the exact midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. As such, it is a milepost of heady psychological import for the winter weary on their arduous journey from winter to spring.
It is so very difficult to take snow pictures. White on white. Well, here are a couple.