Is Winter Finally Over in Maine?

Spring!

Dear Reader:

I see bare lawn.

Normally this would not be a big announcement, but really. It is the second week of April, and still large snow patches crouch beside the rock wall, cling to the back yard, depress me with their grainy, crystalline whiteness.

I want green. Green grass. Green leaves. Green buds.

I want yellow. Yellow daffodils. Yellow dandelions. Yellow-centered daisies.

I want purple. Purple crocus. Purple lilacs. Oh, the heady purple scent of the lilacs in May.

The garden boxes are mostly free of snow, and the dog has been digging in one of them. Beech leaves left over from fall are scattered all around, gathered in front of my steps. The sky is blue today. I can almost, almost imagine that spring is here.

WordPress notified me that I had reached my five year anniversary with this blog. What? How did that happen?

It is spring. It is time to plan my goals for the year. The keyhole-shaped, apple guild garden area will finally be ready for planting this spring. I think I tossed a few tulip bulbs in there last fall (you’d think with this blog I would keep track of these things, but I get loosey-goosey come October) and planted some perennials last summer anyway. So I will be figuring out what kind of apple trees to plant. I want the kind of crab-apple that can be used for making jelly and maybe a companion tree with regular-size apples that can cross-pollinate. I’m open to suggestions.

Around the apple tree will go garlic chives (I did that last year with my miniature crab-apple tree. That was pretty cool), comfrey, yarrow, fennel, bee balm, maybe some artichokes, dill. I know I’ve been talking about this for years, but it has taken that long to build the soil there by the compost bins. This year, it will happen!

Thinning out a bunch of pines created more space for gardens. I have a hugelculture bed that needs planting this year (again, left it to rot down a bit over the winter) and I think I will try potatoes there. Not sure what else.

I will, again, grow many herbs for the bees and other beneficial insects and for cooking. Cucumbers, yes. Cherry tomatoes. Many lettuces and greens.

I also want to create some major perennial beds in keyhole gardens facing south, mixtures of flowers and food.

And then there is the back yard with all the cleanup from the tree-cutting. I have huge brush piles growing at the edge of the property. Some of this could be used for more hugelculture beds.

Pretty soon all this activity will start. I’ll get out my camera and post photos for those who are following along. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be writing this blog. It has been an instructive five years, but somehow I feel that time is drawing to a close. I’ve learned much, incorporated so much into my lifestyle that it no longer feels new or interesting, just normal. I have a few more projects I want to try. I’d like to get a clothesline now that I have more space with sunlight. I’d like to start making my own laundry detergent…

…and man! I still haven’t got that sewing machine out!

Until next time, happy spring!

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7 responses to “Is Winter Finally Over in Maine?

  1. I’m with you! I’m so sick of all the white! I can see little peeps of green around the south wall of my house, where it looks like the snowdrops and daffodil are coming up, but that’s it. What a winter! Wolf River Apple is a great old variety that now comes in more diminutive trees. We’ve had good luck with them here on the island. We have some of the ancient trees, still, in old orchards, that we have managed to prune back to fruition, and we’ve been selling the dwarf varieties ( that will top off at about 18′) for a few years now. We get them when they are about 5′ tall. They’ve had great success – no winter-kill – and many customers report getting some fruit the second year. Nice plans, thanks!

    • That is amazing, Cindy. I grew up with old, old Wolf Rivers at my parents’ house, and never thought of them at all for here! I climbed in those things all the time. They were my forts! They make good pies, but not wonderful for just eating…at least the ones we had. How do you go about selling them? Are you grafting them? I have no idea how that works.

      • We buy them from a nursery, Shelley, to re-sell in the spring along with shrubs and perennials. I put together the order for the hardware store I work at. I don’t think they are grafts, but they could be. Our retail price, for healthy small trees, is about $35.00. Here, the Wolf Rivers are great all-round apples. Crisp, sweet-tart and mostly pest-free for eating straight from the tree, the BEST caramel apples, and also good for baking. I think soil and water affects all those aspects, though. Hope this helps!

      • It does! It would really mean alot to me to plant a couple Wolf Rivers. These old trees at my parents just have been left to do their own thing for a long, long time. I know that when apple trees self-propagate, you don’t always get a “true” variety. At least, that is what I thought I’d read somewhere. I don’t know a thing about them. Thank you so much, Cindy! That seems like a good price, too.

  2. It depends if they are a hybrid or not. I think a hybrid will not necessarily self-propagate a like specimen…could be any one of the varieties that went into the hybrid. The only way to get a true duplicate of a hybrid is a clone…generally from a graft. However, many of the older and heirloom varieties are truer to their nature. Still, I think nursery stock is the best way to go. If you get a healthy tree growing, you could always graft a shoot from one of your parent’s trees onto it, for sentimental value. That branch would produce exactly the fruit you remember, other than variation due to soil, etc.

  3. Five years of thriving–that is great, and I am sure your blog will be missed.
    Blessings for the future endeavors and for a wonderful Resurrection Day!

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