a beautiful mess

Spring crossed the threshold today with wind in her untamed hair and mud on her tattered skirt, and I’ve never been so glad to see her.  Like a wayfaring friend who’d been gone too long, I welcomed her in and we seemed to pick up right where we left off last year.  I’d been itching to clean out the beds and get some peas, carrots, onions, and potatoes in the ground.  I hadn’t so much as picked up one solitary twig from all this winter’s storms, so the place is an outright mess.  This one little corner of my plot held several gifts for me today.

aaah, a blank canvas
aaah, a blank canvas

These four beds used to be all we had for vegetable gardens.  Now it’s just for our early season crops.  When I pulled back the mat of leaves, there was garlic trying to poke through. (I hadn’t planted garlic here in two years!)  One pass of the rake across the carrot bed revealed a handful of danvers half long carrots that refused to give in to the deep freeze.  Picking carrots, to a five-year-old, is akin to opening presents.

"How did they live through the winter, mom?"
“How did they live through the winter, mom?”
today's pickins
today’s pickins

I uncovered the daffodils and irises in a small bed I made to disguise our unsightly well pipe.

the “stump” is hiding the well pipe

Then I tackled a patch of brambles that I’ve been meaning to get to for a couple of years.  I keep envisioning a mounded bed of flowering native plants there with towering Joe Pye weed in the middle and asclepias, echinacea, and hyssop at the edges.  The vine that makes up most of the mess was so twisty and tangly that it was hard to know where to start pulling from.  So, I just picked one and started pulling.  A few minutes of wrestling with the vines revealed a praying mantis cocoon!

it's always nice to find these!
it’s always nice to find these!

I realized that the tangled mess of vines I had in my hands was beautiful in its own right.  It was wrapping around itself the way bittersweet and grape vines do.  So I was inspired to make a wreath out of it.

it practically made itself.
it practically made itself.

That little tan splotch at 4 o’clock is the mantis cocoon.  A proper adornment for any greenhouse door.  Out of chaos, beauty.  

On this day in 1891, J.H. Keim writes, ” Cloudy with hard rain part of the day.  I made a pig pen in the frame stable and put the spotted sow in.  She had her pigs this eavening.  Had 10 pigs, she laid on some of them and killed them.  I then cleaned stables and tended the stock.  The school was out today.”

On this day in 1941, “Clear, some warmer.  Not so stormy today.  I cleaned quite a bit this morning, & then went to the farm first since last Sunday.  After dinner we went down to see Mrs. Naomi Kulp (very sick) & then down to Boxwood Lodge to see Katherine, she seems better.  Then we went to Pottstown to do a little shopping, then home.  Mr. Bilger came to paint the south room this eve.  Evening home.”

On this day in 1937, “Cloudy rain.  Will went to town and I baked some & cleaned the house.  After dinner I went over & helped Aetna a couple hours.  Will & Len went over to Frank Keim’s.  We spent evening at home.”

On this day in 1934, “Clear and cold.  After breakfast I went upstairs and cleaned bureau drawers & did some mending.  At 1:30 Vane, Esther, Jean, Will, and I went to town.  Will went to Dr. Hancox to have ears treated.  After supper, we took (?) up to Joe Wonderly’s, and then to Squibb’s, called on Mrs. Harris, and then home.  Will received first money order for roses today.”

From the book of recipes and remedies…  “Sure cure for croup:  White of one egg, piece of hog lard size of hen egg, 3 drops of turpentine.  Mix and give frequently.”

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