On The Annual Marathon

On The Annual Marathon

I planted peas this weekend.

On Saturday night, in a moment of weakness and unrealistic hope, I dumped a quarter pound of seed leftover from 2012 in a mason jar, topped it off with water and left it on the windowsill overnight with the intention of putting them in the ground the very next day. I had been taking inventory of and cleaning out my seed stash when I came across the envelope tucked between an equally old half pound of bush bean seed and a collection of rare heirloom tomato seeds sent to me by an avid gardener and collector of odd varieties out west. Sunday I dug two short trenches and dumped them in thick, each seed right next to its neighbor, before folding the dirt back over top.

They may or may not germinate. They’ve got plenty of strikes against them — seed age and storage (I’m reckless), the weather, the sometimes-shady spot I put them in the ground because it was the easiest place to work up. Either way, it seemed like as good a day as any to kick off the 2017 growing season, and I was more than ready. Since then, I’ve started our paste tomato seeds for the season — San Marzano Redorta, as always — sowed enough cilantro to keep an army in salsa and samosas for a decade, tucked summer squash seeds into pots of their own, potted up every cherry tomato seed I have, and placed an order for much of what I was missing. As I type this, there is a jar with a half pound of beet seed soaking, and when I’m done writing it’ll go in the ground alongside and the remainder of last year’s lettuce seed.

Spring has sprung!

And it’s such a welcome arrival here. When I left to spend a month in Indonesia in the beginning of February I hoped to come back to spring in March. So far Mother Nature has not disappointed. I had to endure a week of winter-like weather when I first stepped foot back on American soil, but we’ve been sunny and warm here since. Of course, the arrival of warm weather brings with it the inevitable race against time.

Every day after spring has sprung is one day closer to the first hard frost of autumn and snowfall of winter. Each day between this initial warmth and the inevitable cold that follows is a mile in nature’s annual marathon. We may be just out of the gate now, most of the course in front of us, but we’re pacing ourselves in preparation for each step of the way. Too slow and we’ll miss key opportunities to accomplish our goals; too fast and we’ll exhaust ourselves before the finish line… and miss opportunities to accomplish our goals.

There is pasture seed to spread, trees to fell and those that have fallen themselves to clean up. I am trying to think of a fence that doesn’t need repair this year and my mind is coming up blank. There are yards and yards of rock piled in the drive between the house and barn. As soon as we get it spread it’ll be replaced with gravel and crushed concrete. Chores beget chores beget chores. One project in front of another. Mother Nature fired off the shot to begin the race and so we’re off, trotting down the opening stretch.

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