May is suddenly upon us, the time of year gardeners are itching to plant and start their growing quest of the perfect veggies. ( of course they strive for that but we all know perfect isn’t reachable). Just yesterday I passed by a farmer tilling his garden. I chuckled to myself, spotting high rubber boots and coveralls on him and the look of determination as he worked. He is the very first soul I’ve seen tilling this year and will stay in my thoughts through the season. Soon my husband will tread that slow, determined walk, slowly tilling our soil for rejuvenated rebirth.
Every year my ambitious gardening regiment commences with a visit to the metal file cabinet. You may wonder about this…file cabinet? Yes, pulling out my gardening brown paper folder is the first step. Tucked safely inside is last years plan. By perusing at the plot and position of vegetables, I’m making sure plants get shuffled. Because many plants deplete the soil of valuable nutrients, it’s wise to rotate crops.
It’s also paramount to practice religiously companion planting. Companion planting is the art of planting crops that grow well together, like tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers compliment each other. Peppers are companions with carrots, onions, eggplants and tomatoes. When you plant vegetables, make sure that you check what vegetables are toxic for each other such as peas with garlic and chives and avoid those placements. Sometimes veggies are not good neighbors and its up to you to learn which ones they are.
After I sketch my proposed garden it may change a few times before it is actually born. I have a right to change my mind, right? Then I browse the stores for organic seeds and start buying seeds for carrots, beans, lettuce, spinach or kale, radishes, herbs such as basil, oregano, chives, cilantro. Later this month I go to a nursery and shop for plants. The reason I do this is that New Hampshire growing season is short and I have to boost my time by buying saplings and love them tenderly to produce.
The nursery I love is about 45 minutes north of us, Sullivan’s Greenhouse in Lancaster, NH. The ride there( the back way) can be lovely by the river and peaceful. Everyone there is so happy and spirited and it turns out to be so much fun! You grab a cart and shop away, finding all your goodies. I also buy my annual flower plants there as well.
Lastly I usually wait until the first week of June to plant. If I plant too early, frost is likely and could kill my tender plants. By planting at this time, its just before school ends so within a week I can devote many hours to nurturing the garden. After all, this will be my family’s food for awhile…. some vibrant sun and cool rain showers, tender loving care and a little prayer will do wonders.
Have you planted your garden yet? What is your annual planting tradition?
Most evenings Tom and I gaze at the celestial sky through the window while lying in bed. Just across our bed a small window serves as a makeshift skylight. This particular evening a cloud cover hid the bounty of twinkling stars but instead there was a natural melody playing.
A beautiful chorus of peepers traveled from the pond. We spent several minutes listening to these nature calls, a comforting song of nature. These sounds are actually male frogs calling their female mates. It lulled us to sleep, as sweet as can be. The cheeping sounds reminds me of past nights with open windows and cool air wafting in. They are a sure sign of warmer bright days and a gracious hello of spring.
Across our yard, bordering our property line is a small pond. Sometime in the past ( the 50’s or 60’s) a local ROTC built the ponds barrier.A steady brook from the woods empties this body of water. The run off rushes into a culvert under the road.
When we first acquired the home, the pond was in good shape and healthy. Years of non maintenance has left overgrown weeds and water plants, shrinking the pond itself. We’ve concentrated on our home renovation, not really having the time to maintain it. Our goal is to dig it out with a backhoe and cut back all the plants and weeds that have taken over. I dream of a little dirt path to it, as well as beautiful flowers on its edge.
I expect to hear the peepers tunes hum for a few weeks. Their beautiful croaking is surely a gift for us to enjoy …the sounds of spring.
What signs of spring are you seeing? If you are experiencing a different season, what do you see or hear now?
A piece of my past that was tucked away in my conscience where remembrances hide, came back to life two years ago. I never would have guessed that my middle school dance memories would breathe life again or would even matter.
Let’s fast forward about 32 years and imagine my intense surprise when my son, D told me that his high school prom was going to be held at the Alumni Hall! It meant nothing to him, as I had never mentioned it to him before. He did know that I grew up in Haverhill but didn’t know that the Doyle ( my maiden name) residence stood on Court Street.
The historic Alumni Hall grandly sits on quaint Court Street in Haverhill, New Hampshire. In the 19th century this grandmother served as the local courthouse and later in the 20th century as a gymnasium for the Haverhill Academy middle school.
This place speaks history to me, as I lived a few houses down Court street from her. I was one of hundreds of students who played organized gym games on its old wooden floor with the historic stage in the background. Our school, Haverhill Academy, stood a few feet away facing one of the commons. From the back yard we could walk on a short path leading to the hall. Years later the town built a tennis court with basketball hoops adjacent to the path and it still stands today.
As a seventh and eighth grader, I attended dances at the Alumni Hall. For me, it was magnificent to live just five houses up on the right. I could walk to the dances! It was especially magical strolling back under a cloak of stars and the cool night air enveloping me. I remember having that dance high from the loud music and people and the adrenaline pushing me back home.
I vividly remember taking my cousin Janice to the dance and the fun we had, walking towards the venue. Loud music belted from its every corner on a fine spring evening. I try to forget that sad sorrowful feeling of waiting to be asked to dance by a certain boy. Although it never happened, someone did ask me to dance…but I refused. I had my heart set on one boy and was stupid enough to not even consider others. I danced fast tunes with my friends but didn’t dance any slow ones.
It was an early evening in May and as my mother in law, Theo and I went to the prom to snap photos of D and his date, my stomach was like jello. It was so many years later after that spring dance in this same building….I had transformed from a young teenager with my promising life ahead of me to now, a grown mama and wife. Now I was going to my son’s dance at the same place. It was unbelievable and will never happen again.
All the boys sported tuxes of black or white with slicked back hair and hopeful smiles. A colorful sea of gowns of teals, peaches, bright royal blues to frosty pinks decorated the front lawn. The girls tinkly little giggles and the subtle clicks of numerous cameras was drowned out by the boys chattering. As we took pictures of all the handsome couples on the lawn, a huge green tractor inched by and everyone laughed.
Inside the hall the tables and chairs were gift wrapped in satin like material and tulle. Little white lights twinkled, shining over the renovated wood floor. This didn’t look like the same place where my dance was, a different Alumni hall in a different time ages ago. I still could imagine what our dance looked like.
Soon after our family moved from Haverhill, the town closed the building. It was falling apart and unsafe and needed an expensive facelift. Years later the funds were gathered and renovations busily began. After the renovation, the historic hall remained with all its splendor but rejuvenated into a fine classy grandmother.
Now the Alumni Hall is a great cultural center for the arts. I have gone to a Betty Johnson Gray show there and it was an amazing night. Betty Gray is a prominent singer who hales from New York City but lives in a sprawling mansion next door to Haverhill Academy.
It’s an amazing circumstance when ones past goes full circle and meets you in the present. Those past moments that rise up and come back to life are staunch reminders that life has incredible connections. As a silly teenager girl, I once attended these exciting dances, now grown into a wonderful woman and being a spectator there for my son. That young girl would never have imagined that her oldest son would dance at the same place and how lovely her life would turn out to be!
Here Comes the Sun…and I welcome it back with open arms!
The marvelous sun in all its glory is finally showing its happy face, shining down with all its power. Warm rays filter in the house and as I drove to a nearby town , I am uplifted.Just a few days of luminating warm sun makes a difference in my mood.
You see, in our corner of the world, the sun hides and prefers to peek out in small episodes. It’s likely for us to get weeks without its appearance, explaining why many move to Florida.
On this sunny day I feel the beauty, the warm splendor and wish this for a slew of successive days, to fill my cup so it will last through the bleakest of gray days.
As the sun glow makes my day, I truly hope you have sun shining
down on you in your part of the world!☀️☀️☀️
Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! He is risen! This is a beautiful day of rejoicing!
My husband and I sit here in quiet morning peace, thinking of all past Easters when our sons were little. Years of Easter egg hunts and baskets brimming with candy, swimming goggles and bottles of bubbles. Years of visiting my mother in law’s house and seeing family to celebrate.
Now things have changed, it’s slowly evolved the last few years. Our sons have grown into men, so now Easter is different. No more Easter egg hunts or excitement and laughter when they wake up. My mother in law and Tom’s sister and husband have moved away and will celebrate miles away.Yet, even with changes, (which every family experiences) Easter remains special. As my sister in law said, we have our memories and I think they are precious.
Easter is a day of renewal and hope.
Change is hard but can be good for us. My family will go to my sister’s house today for a big lunch. I’m making cheesy scalloped potatoes and made strawberry shortcake cupcakes yesterday. It will be a beautiful day, even with changes. Traditions change and we grow as that happens.