Tag Archives: Spring Equinox

Spring Fever!

crocusYesterday The New York Times published a lovely editorial praising the robin as the harbinger of spring. The editors wrote:

Somehow the robin stands for all the birds migrating now, the great V’s of geese heading north, the catbirds that will show up surreptitiously in a month. It also stands for the surprise of spring itself, which we had begun to fear would not arrive. We have all been keeping watch, as though one morning it might come sailing over the horizon. And now it’s here — the air a bit softer, snowdrops and winter aconites blooming, the bees doing their cleaning and the robins building their nests again.

As Denise mentioned yesterday, Sunday’s equinox marked the official beginning of spring, and in celebration I’m engaging in all sorts of seasonal activities. From watching the peregrine falcons at the Cathedral of Learning guard their newly laid eggs to checking up on what the fashion world‘s elite have in mind for post-sweater weather, all things spring have caught my attention. My reading taste has spring fever, too, and I’m checking out lots of books related to nature and the outdoors.

John Fowles The TreeThe other day I stumbled across John Fowles’  The Tree, a naturalist classic whose website describes it as a “moving meditation on the connection between the natural world and human creativity, and a powerful argument against taming the wild.” The newest edition boasts an introduction by Barry Lopez, whose own nature-oriented meditations I’ve recently enjoyed in magazines like Tricycle.

The Tree is light enough to bring it with me on walks, another favorite warm weather Wanderlust : a history of walking / Rebecca Solnit.activity of mine. In the fall, I moved into a new house, so I’m looking forward  to discovering the changes warmer seasons bring to my new neighborhood.  As I read Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking,  my mind can wonder about walking as I wander around.

The spell of the sensuous : perception and language in a more-than-human world / David Abram.One book that’s inspired many a musing since I read it is deep ecologist David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, a philosophical reflection on the ways nature may have shaped humans’ linguistic and perceptual evolution. In lyrical, moving prose, Abrams imagines our place in nature as participatory and reciprocal–both seeing and seen, feeling and felt–by the network of animals and landscapes we’re part of.

Springtime inspires my political activity as well. The more time I spend in our beautiful habitat, the more I appreciate and want to protect it. Locally, concerns about the environmental effects of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale and uncertainly about how our state’s elected legislature will handle it motivate me to stay informed about the subject and tell my state representatives how I feel.

In terms of my personal habitat, I’m preoccupied with all of the possibilities for a raised bed garden I’m planning. To prepare, I’m consulting every gardening resource I see (including my wise coworkers), and tomorrow I’m attending Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s free lunchtime lecture about rain barrels and rain gardens.

Reading, walking, gardening, and generally growing give me plenty to do as the days lengthen. I hope spring fever also brings you lots of ways to spend your ever-increasing hours of sunlight!

–Renée

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March Forth Into the Garden

The spring equinox will be here soon, March 20, 7:21 PM EDT. Yes, that’s Eastern Daylight Time. Before spring begins we’ll bully ahead (and lose an hour of morning light) to daylight saving time.

For gardeners and the plants in their care, it doesn’t matter what the clock says. The important thing is the length of daylight hours. Bulbs are nosing up out of the ground. Trees are yawning and stretching, preparing for mid-April bursts of green. The 11 hours, 21 minutes of daylight today tells our growing friends that their time to shine is coming soon.

This year I’ll start a few seeds indoors. March is the right month for tomato and pepper seeds. They’ll grow in a south facing window for six to eight weeks, and be ready for the outdoor ground around the first of May.

I recently borrowed two books from the Library to guide me, Pittsburgh garden writers Doug Oster and Jessica Walliser’s Grow Organic and Small-Plot High-Yield Gardening by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan. In both books, step-by-step instructions on starting seeds, written in a confident yet gentle tone of voice, offer welcome encouragement.

During March, cool weather crops may be planted outdoors. Sow seeds directly in the garden for an early taste of leafy greens such as lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, and for root vegetables like beets. Mr. Oster writes that those of Irish heritage traditionally plant peas on March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day, and Italians choose Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19.

Winds of March, we welcome you,

There is work for you to do.

Work and play and blow all day,

Blow the winter wind away. —author unknown

—Julie

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