Yard Work

Tomorrow we’re supposed to get an all-day, soaking rain. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the meteorologists are right about this one — and the next one predicted to arrive a few days after tomorrow’s welcome water. This will not break our severe drought, not by a long shot. But it will be enough to waken most of the dormant plants in my yard. It will also waken more insects, ticks, snakes, and all the other creatures that have been biding their time, waiting for winter to loosen its grip for good.

So before we could pull another weed, plant another seed, or mulch another bed, today was pick-up-sticks day. Sounds easy, right? Think five acres of mostly wooded land (mature trees — the kind that drop branches routinely), a hill, and aging joints. Wonder Spouse and I spent several hours filling the cart, toting the cart to Brush Pile Mountain, unloading the cart, and so on.

Besides the debris dropped by trees, we also picked up debris that Wonder Spouse created by pruning, and by cutting up fallen trees. It was loads of fun. But better today — before the rains cause the first seed tick explosion of the season. Now we’ll be able to mow the “lawn.” This will likely need to be done soon, after two good rains get every little green thing growing with typical spring enthusiasm.

Speaking of spring enthusiasm, meticulously inspecting the ground for sticks does allow one to spot all the developments in the yard. For example, the flower buds on our Chinese Redbud (Cercis chinensis) are swollen, and a few flowers are already fully open. This tree always blooms before our native redbuds, and the color of the flowers is a bit more magenta than our native redbud flowers. But what I love most about our Chinese Redbud is its branching pattern — very ornate. I’ll show you what I mean when more flowers open.

A few seedling Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) trees on the floodplain have already leafed out. The flower buds on the big mother tree are nearly ready to pop open — just in time to offer its red tubular flowers to early hummingbirds.

And, of course, we checked on the spring vegetables. I think more than forty pea seedlings are poking up their green heads now. The rains should really get them going. The spring greens I sowed in the greenhouse are all up, but I’m still not seeing the lettuces, etc. I direct-sowed. I won’t start worrying yet. And I do have more seed if I need to re-sow. But experience has taught me that patience usually pays off in this situation.

Also in the greenhouse, tiny chive seedlings are popping up. I sowed more than I probably should have. The seeds are so tiny, and chive germination can be spotty and slow. But, of course, this year, it’s looking like almost every seed I sowed is germinating.

Yesterday, I planted the onion plants — Yellow Granax — that arrived in the mail the day before. These are sweet yellow onions that taste similar to the famous Vidalia onions. Wonder Spouse loves them. I planted the one bundle I ordered — 122 skinny onion plants. Here they are, lined up and ready to settle in with tomorrow’s soaking rain.

Newly planted onions waiting for rain

An all-day Sunday rain sounds perfect to me. Time for catching up on reading. Time to stare out the window and watch the brown world turn green. Time to give thanks for much-needed rain. Mud pies, anyone?

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