The Fourth Day of Spring

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Welcome to the fourth day of spring.  This is my little backyard after being pummeled by snow.  As I shake my fist in the air at the Utah spring, my husband keeps reminding me that my anger is unwarranted.  He keeps telling me that it isn’t uncommon for snow to dump on us in March.  I’m in denial though.  The bad weather was actually one of the reasons this blog began.  I had plans to dig into our retaining wall project this weekend.  We have big plans for the area behind our free-standing garage.

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As you can see though, those plans will have to wait.

Temped by the beautiful weather the previous two weeks I began my seeds.  This really is the time to start many crops if you are starting from seed.  Kale as I have learned from research is actually best started in the winter, but seeing as I only fell in love with this veggie recently it went in the ground as an early spring crop.  As it is exposed to frost and cold weather it actually tastes better as the plant produces more sugar to protect it from the cold, thus making the kale sweeter to eat.  But since my plants are only small seedlings it is good that I had the sense to cover them.  In the same spot of ground I have also planted peas and spinach.

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As you can see this spring snow is blanketing my crops and covers, erasing all signs of effort.

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I did take a risk though planting some crops directly in the ground without any sort of cover.  Kale, spinach, dill, cilantro, and other herbs are unprotected.  None of the seedlings had emerged yet, so they may pull through.  My strawberry plants were starting to awaken from the long cold winter, and I had recently pruned the sage bush, but since they have weathered storms before I hope they will be okay.

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I do worry about these large pots though.  Much too big to bring into the house they will have to fight for their little seedlings lives.  I have Kale in the left and spinach on the right.  They weathered a smaller storm yesterday.  If they make it through I may just have to save their seeds!  I purchased open pollinated, heirloom seeds so it is a possibility this year.  I will take a post to talk about seeds later, but back to my frozen spring wonderland.

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Here stands my pitiful greenhouse.   This was a purchase last year and it has been the staging ground for many of my garden mistakes.  Though the greenhouse was put away into the garage, I didn’t store it zipped.  The plastic has now shrunk and tightened until I am now unable to zip one side.  My attempt to make the greenhouse usable has left me resorting to binder clips, which then allowed for the smallest amount of snow to filter in and land upon a soon to sprout yellow zucchini.  I worry I may need to plant all over again.  It has never stopped my though.  Last year I planted some seeds three times.  Once the greenhouse toppled, easily caught by the wind, spilling dirt and seeds everywhere.  That is why the greenhouse is now secured to my house with blue rope.  Like Anne of Green Gables, I usually never repeat the same mistake twice.  The second mistake was not unzipping the greenhouse on a hot day.  I cooked most of my seeds.  Gardening has been a learning experience.  Most people will start their seeds indoors, but with my limited space it is very difficult to manage.  Hopefully this year’s spring snow will not prove to be another garden mistake.

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Last but not least in my spring saga are my feathered girls.

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The hens have already weathered the winter storms so snow is nothing new to them.  It doesn’t mean they like it though.  They hate stepping in the wet, cold stuff, and I guess I really can’t blame them.  Their little toes are entirely exposed to the elements.

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They do like eating it though.  I know from experience that they will not venture out at all today unless the snow melts enough to expose the grass under their coop, or enough pine bedding falls beneath their coop covering the unpleasant stuff.  Since they are cooping themselves up today I need to make sure that they are well taken care off since they won’t be venturing down to the water down below.  They have a built-in food container attached to the back door, thanks to my ingenious husband.  Water is a more complicated mater.  I don’t want my chicks to entirely rely on snow eating to quench their thirst.

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Instead I take this great little invention, dump the current water that has begun to freeze, and fill it with warm water.  This little bottle has been with us since the girls were little chicks.

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They eagerly peck at the nipple at the bottom getting their water.  It probably isn’t refreshing as their usual water container, but if I were to put a bowl of water in the coop the hens would quickly knock it over soaking their bedding and making their coop a cold popsicle.

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I know that the sun will come up, the snow will eventually melt, and before I know it spring will be in full swing.  Summer I’m sure will be overly hot like last year, and part of me will yearn for white landscapes.  For now though I will say a little prayer over my seeds and if they fail I will replant.  I will never give up.

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