20 March 2011

spring first

happy first day of spring! was the first thing out of cosmo's mouth this morning. then he dashed over to his calendar to check the date. he's been waiting for this day. we've been telling him that when spring arrives, we can go out in the yard and look for ants for the ant farm we picked up this winter at a swap. today was the day! luckily, the weather cooperated, and it really felt like a spring day. and (bonus!) there were ants!

he and carl set out some bait (honey) on a piece of paper, and after the ants gathered around it, they quickly, and carefully dumped them into the top of the farm. after that it was just a matter of feeding them some cracker crumbs, dropping water in, and watching them go. ants are endlessly entertaining to watch.

for carl and i, it's the new TV. cosmo is fascinated with them too, but then again, he's fascinated with a nearly deflated old balloon, so his gazing at the ant farm window comes and goes. but he's been interested in the habits of ant colonies for a couple of summers now, so i foresee much educational fun in the months ahead.

of course, spring means gardening. the cold frame managed to keep a number of lettuce and spinach plants alive all winter, plus one hearty chard.

they are nearly full sized now, and we enjoyed our first garden salad last weekend when carl's parents visited, along with the last of the fall carrots. i've transplanted some lettuce, spinach and brassica seedlings from the basement grow-light area to the cold frame, and scattered a few plants around the garden as well.

it is perhaps a bit early to expect much growth, but most of them are hanging on. arugula is up, and already making my mouth water! peas are in the ground, but not yet popping up. the garlic is looking good, as are the chives, and perennials and spring bulbs are coming into their own

on this vernal equinox, i turned the compost (the most back breaking chore of the organic garden), started weeding some perennial beds-- with the enthusiastic helping hands of a certain five year old, who triumphantly shouts oh yeah...johnson grass! when he successfully rips up a long trail of that pesky weed. it takes a little one to remind me that weeding can be extremely satisfying.

dinner was enjoyed on the porch (including fresh baked bread, and homemade butter), and we capped off the day with a symbolic torching of last year's christmas tree plus various other woody garden debris from the previous season.

at our little rented urban homestead, spring has officially been ushered in!