Tuesday, 14 April 2015 | 17 comments

Spring stuff

I think I speak for most East Coast people when I say THANK GOD. The time for tiny green sprouting things is upon us. I spend a lot of time silently cheering for those bold enough to be popping up their heads and blooming.


Spring at a new house: Ben and I have acres to our names all of a sudden, which is a bit paralyzing. I am a very amateurish gardener at best, but I think what I’ve learned most about growing food (well, about growing anything really) is that the planting is the easy part. Seeds know what to do, all bound up in their tiny package, just waiting for the right conditions. Knowing where to put them, knowing the dynamic of the place you live, knowing the places that soak up heat during the day and give it off at night: these are the tougher pieces of the puzzle.

I would like to note here that my significant other is a dude who really loves flowers. He is better than I am at growing things for the sake of how beautiful they are. Some day, when we’re old, and he’s been growing me zinnias for 50 years, I’ll write an essay about it. In a new house in the springtime, Ben is on this constant delighted journey of discovery as bulbs and rhizomes that the previous inhabitants planted start appearing. The tally so far: tons of daffodils, some bluebells, big clumps of irises, possibly peonies, and something called bloodroot which I had never seen before but is quickly becoming a favorite.

The place we bought needs a lot of updating, and I perhaps have been a little overeager in my destruction of things that I want to get rid of. The linoleum floor is ripped up in the corner where I attacked it like an animal. I pulled down a bunch of ceiling tiles and there is duct tape hanging down from bare rafters in the hallway. Only a few of the rooms of our house actually resemble rooms. But we got seeds started, so I feel reasonably accomplished. Or so I try to tell myself.

I’ve been working on a nice rye bread for toasting that I want to share, so I’ll hopefully be back soon. Happy spring.

§ 17 responses to Spring stuff

  • anie schafer

    Yay! for spring and new homes and discovery. I, too, attack my houses immediately and then (sparingly and rarely) regret it. It works for me as a motivator to get shit done. Otherwise I might find myself, in 5 years time, still dealing with that linoleum in the corner, attacking *me* with it’s ugliness.
    have fun! and congratulations!

  • Even in California we’re rather delighted with the uprising. Like maybe for a few weeks we can forget we had no winter and that summer will be more brutal than ever. Halleluiah indeed.

  • Wonderful!

  • The first year I moved to London, into the tiny one bedroom apartment we still live in, I tried to grow to tomatoes. I was eager for the kind of summer I grew up with in Venice, and thought it was a great idea. It wasn’t. Now I have succulents, yet I wish for a small patch of dirt to play in sometime…

    Looking forward to the rye bread!

  • Yes, in Cambridge, this was the worst winter (literally a record). If I didn’t have to stay inside anyway and write for the last 3+ months, it would have been even tougher. But I am THRILLED it’s over. Broke out the bike today and my it was glorious. Never seen bloodroot either and they are indeed delightful! Wow. Acres! Awesome. Plant fruit trees + berries this year and you’ll have them bearing fruit faster. I’m on the edge of a similar move, and am wondering how much of a ‘fixer upper’ we can handle. It’s a big investment in time and emotional energy. I admire your courage! Godspeed!

    • I know, I know. Berries. Gah. Glad you made it out of winter okay.

      • Yep! Feel like I just emerged (cleaning like crazy today… a long backlog in this apt…) Defended my dissertation YESTERDAY so it is, indeed, officially spring! Hallelujah! If you can plant blackberries, they are awesome, but I find they mostly grow out west. My personal favs are strawberries and raspberries. I planted a few canes 2 years ago in our backyard, but a neighbor accidentally dug them up so none are still alive. Not sure they would have made it through this winter anyway. Owning your own place is definitely a positive when it comes to not having folks dig up your plants. But, then again, there’s always wildlife!

  • I agree, ripping things out right away is the way to go, even if it means living in construction zone for a while.. Otherwise it’s way too easy to just let things that bother you stay and stay. Our house has had some of both strategies … if we did it again I’d pull out as much of the bad stuff as I could afford to replace, ASAP. Good luck! I think as soon as the place starts to seem “yours” it will feel better.

  • Margit Van Schaick

    Yes on the fruit trees and berries asap. Maybe there’s an organic source within reach. (as a wedding present, I was able to give a small orchard to my middle daughter). Ben knows grapes, so thatis another project to start soon. Rhubarb and asparagus. Horseradish, too. So many possibilities. So wonderful. I wish for you good health and lots of fun!

  • Susan

    Strange coincidence: I had just sent an email to my brother, wondering if the blood root would be in bloom today, in the bit of woods across from what used to be my parents house. They are a lovely ephemeral plant. I hope you have much joy of them, for years to come.

  • You know, after we bought our house, in a fit of excitement I tore off the hideously ugly faux-modern fireplace mantel in the living room. 9 months later we still have no replacement mantel. Luckily my husband stopped me from hacking at the tile in the guest bath (after the sink in our bathroom broke, he was happy to remind me that it is always good to have one fully functional bathroom).

  • I can’t claim to commiserate because I am currently living in Los Angeles, but I have friends from back East who have decided to move because of how intense last winter was…I am so glad the spring is starting to poke through, and there’s nothing more exciting that watching surprise bulbs bloom!

  • Amy

    As someone who is working to plant natives in her yard, I am jealous of your bloodroot! I am waiting to see what made it though the winter (and my not so great plant care of last summer), this weekend I realized my wild ginger looks like it survived and the “I’m sure I killed it” Virginia bluebells are blooming. Success!

    In the house I should probably finish painting the bathroom I started working on 2 years ago. The inevitable cascade of “if I want to paint I have to fix the plaster and oh look I need to scrape the windows and OH! Lead Paint! Yay! wait, I need to check more colors and wow the radiator is peeling and needs to be cleaned off too” means I painted one wall and that’s the way it’s stood for 6+ months.

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