Our beautiful Barred Rock, Kimora, passed away on March 6, 2017. She was five years old, more than middle-aged by chicken standards, but you couldn’t tell by looking at, interacting with, or hearing her. She was loud and proud, especially after a good egg-laying session, and was as spry as the day we brought her home.
The five little things that made my week…
1. The first strawberries of the season. I wish I could tell you how scrumptious they were, but by the time I went back to harvest a few, they were gone. All of them, poof! like magic. And someone with chubby dimpled hands and a suspicious strawberry juice mustache was giggling nearby.
The ever-pervasive dandelion. It’s one of the first plants to sprout in spring, when the ground is barely free of frost, and remains steadfast through the season with vibrant pops of yellow and downy balls of seeds so nostalgic of childhood wonderment.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, this humble plant that has fed and healed humanity for thousands of years became a blight on our landscape. Dismissed as a weed, eradicated at all costs, cursed and scorned for its stubbornly long taproots that often refuse to give from the earth, it’s earned a reputation for invasiveness and uselessness.
After having the luxury of shooting my first book at home (or in various relatives’ homes) with easy access to a dishwasher, hot running water, and electricity, my second book was a true test of faith and patience.
Forget the beautiful filtered light through the windows and being able to walk barefoot on soft carpet. Think glaring midday sun and waiting for the light to move over the trees. Think dusty feet in flip-flops crunching across a pine needle-littered campsite.
Above: Gemma at one day old.
Every morning, I take the first nap with the baby. I always wake up an hour before she starts stirring, but rather than getting up and going about my day, I like to lie in bed with her and simply watch her sleep. The sweet sighs. The rise and fall of her round belly. I love the way her lips pucker under the weight of her chubby cheeks, and I love to bury my nose in her soft tuft of hair, breathing in that milky baby smell.
Early spring can feel like a game of garden roulette: sunny and warm one week, tempting you to transplant all those tomatoes you’d started inside, then wet and cold the next week, reminding you that frost isn’t entirely out of the picture.
If you’re itching to get outside but the unpredictable weather is reigning you in, there’s still plenty you can do around the yard before (and aside from) sowing seeds or putting tender seedlings in the ground. The name of the game in March is “clean-up,” and this checklist will walk you through all the sometimes forgotten (or intentionally overlooked) tasks to help you tune-up your garden for prime planting season.
Late winter to early spring is one of my favorite times to be in the garden: the days are longer, the weather’s warmer, and the air is thick with the heady fragrance of flowers from our orange and mandarin trees. When I’m feeling pulled in multiple directions and need to decompress, even for just a few minutes, I simply stand under the canopy of my citrus tree and breathe it all in. It’s like having my own aromatherapy session; the scent is delicate yet overpowering all at once, and slowly I feel my spirits start to lift.