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Springtime blues

Lead Summary

HCP columnist

Spring is here, the vernal equinox, March 20th ... or so they say.

For some reason, however, I have very serious doubts.

When I asked a neighboring farmer when he thought the last frost would be, he smiled and his eyes twinkled. In a calm voice, he replied that he’d put good money down that it would not frost after the first of July.

I understood.

I know that I should be outside getting the float bed ready to start my spring seeds. I should make sure that the side boards are sound, pull up last year’s plastic lining, and smooth out the dirt floor before fitting new black plastic in place.

I should go through the styrofoam float trays, and make sure that our barn mice have not burrowed too many tunnels through them.

Each year, after we have planted the summer garden, I try to stack the trays loosely on their sides when I put them away. I do not want them to be too inviting to the diminutive, but ever so destructive mice that inhabit the barn, but it still seems that the tiny grey creatures manage to tear up at least a few trays.

I should be heading off to the farm supply store to buy more trays, and pick up a few fifty pound bags of sterile dirt, seed starting medium.

And then I should make sure that the mice have not gotten into the float bed’s cotton covering and, if necessary, pick up some of that at the supply store as well.

But it just does not feel like spring, and I am having great difficulty getting motivated.

This morning it really seemed more like a cold November day than a mid-March morning, and we lingered extra long over a second cup of coffee at the breakfast table.

Once outside, I wished that I had worn my scarf.

The cold trickled down the back of my neck, and the tip of my nose grew icy cold as I did the morning chores.

I stuffed my hands down deep into my pockets as we took our morning walk with the dogs.

Back at the cabin, Greg kept the fire burning warm throughout the day, and as he puttered about, I am certain that I heard him singing Christmas carols quietly to himself.

Perhaps that is why fat snowflakes began to fall through the gray evening sky, to keep seasonal complement to Greg’s songs.

And for dinner I decided to cook a big pot of chicken soup.

I set it on the stove to simmer in the late afternoon, knowing that the steamy warmth from the stove would help to warm the cabin, and that the soup would definitely warm our bellies.

I look out the window across the valley. The creek world outside may be gray and covered with a soft dusting of white, and Greg may well be singing Christmas carols, but without a doubt, I am singing the springtime blues.

Then I pause. I have to smile as I think that it will not frost after the first of July. I will put good money on that.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at

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