Well, folks, here I am, sooner than I thought, aching a lot and bragging a bit. It just so happens that the weather here is cold but sunny, so I have been spending each moment of my spare time outdoors, from the crack of dawn to the sunset evening, in the newly turned sod, preparing a brand new garden area.

I have high hopes of success with this new garden.

Three times I have rototilled that area, breaking up last fall’s overturned sod, and three times already this season, I have had a rather impressive crop to pick. The only problem was, the crops I picked were stones; multi-hundreds of fist-sized stones. I should have put a sign up at the side of the road: “Pick Your Own.” And who knows? I may just do that before the summer season is over.

This year I am concentrating on the perennial end of the garden crops. Last fall, in addition to planting a double long row of young potted trees, which we hope to use in replacing the multitude of tornado-downed trees, I planted a row of asparagus and a half- dozen clumps of rhubarb. Though both are a couple of years down the road before cropping heavily, they look like they are away to a good start.

I have already transplanted an 85 numbered row of the double cropping raspberries, and I have high hopes of getting into the ground, before this day is out, two hundred strawberry plants of two different varieties.

They just arrived yesterday by my own special courier, who deserves a big thanks and a couple more hugs for helping me out.

My ambitions don’t stop just there either; I am already soaking, previous to planting in a nursery bed, enough asparagus seed to add another row by next spring. I also have hopes of planting a couple of rows of previously collected native plant seeds in order to attract both bees and butterflies in hopes of encouraging proper pollination.

In the meantime, folks, I am enjoying the out-of-doors. The killdeer have returned to nest and lay their four speckled eggs, point down, in the newly plowed garden area. The meadowlarks have returned, you guessed it, to the meadow. The bobolinks have returned to babble their song in flight, high up over the hay fields. And the house wrens have returned to express their sassy opinions from the brambles of the backyard flowering crab.

So there you have it, folks, I am outside, enjoying myself, getting lots of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and feeling good. But I do have a terrible problem. The tornado left us with no trees big enough from which I can swing in my hammock. Woe is me.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins