Tough enough

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I’ll admit that a 10+ mile military-style obstacle course is a little more extreme than gardening and cooking – the way I usually spend my weekends.  But it was, apart from the near hypothermia, a fantastic experience and I find myself planning for the next one.  Fortunately, it’s scheduled for the end of the planting season, which means it’s just me and my plants for the next few months.  Lovely.

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Around the farm…

The previous owners put this up but it makes me happy

The previous owners put this up but it makes me happy

The Girl and I baked up a storm for a dear friend's wedding shower

The Girl and I baked up a storm for a dear friend’s wedding shower

stupid good

stupid good

From Glen Road Organics

From Glen Road Organics

The Boy carved a happy face onto the lichen.  I'll admit we weren't happy at the time, but now I find it kind of cheery

The Boy carved a happy face onto the lichen. I’ll admit we weren’t happy at the time, but now I find it kind of cheery

The Girl's boots by the side door

The Girl’s boots by the side door

In a rare pic of me, I'm happy as a clam surrounded by beds full of dirt

In a rare pic of me, I’m happy as a clam surrounded by beds full of dirt

The return

It’s May, and I feel like I’ve returned to the farm after a long hiatus.  I actually thought ‘I’ve missed this place’ as I sat in the garden among the unplanted beds a couple of weeks ago.  Odd, considering I’ve spent most weekends there this year.  It turns out there is a difference between hiding out in the farmhouse cooking and reading all winter and being outside around the farm.

Spring came late this year, and all at once.  There was nothing to do in the garden in April, it was too cold and the ground was still frozen.  Two weeks later, the grass desperately needs to be cut.  Now I can’t wait for the gardening season and feel frustrated by the city-life demands that are keeping us from being at the farm more.  Since we can’t get there this weekend (tragic, since May is officially my favourite month at Northbrook), I hurried to plant all of those ‘early spring’ plants last weekend.  In went arugula, spinach, kale, lettuce, leeks, peas, a few potatoes, parsnips, radishes, broccoli, celery and a few flowers, although I have terrible luck with growing flowers from seeds.  Of course I expected I’d have miles of room now for everything with the expanded garden.  Nope.  I’m starting to think that until I start taking back some of the rented-out acreage there will never be enough room for planting.  At the end of last season I wanted more of everything.  But then I got greedy and ordered about a billion packets of seeds – and now I have more kinds of vegetables growing, but I don’t have room to grow as much as I want of each vegetable.  Is garden balance possible?

Here’s the new garden with the first seeds in.  Fingers crossed the netting keeps the birds from pilfering my peas as they did last year.

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The next time we’re at Northbrook will be the big planting weekend.  I’ve ordered my tomatoes again – about 21 plants compared to last year’s 7.  I still feel like I need lots and lots of things to make the garden complete – herbs, more flowers, little annuals to pot up and place around for colour.  Then there’s the irrigation to go in.  With the garden expansion we need expanded watering capability.  Naturally, the WorkHorse is dreading adding a new irrigation line.  I smile politely and say very little when this subject comes up.  So far, so good.

I’ve been quiet on this blog over the winter.  My focus (obsessive nature) has been on my fitness as I switched up my plans for the Tough Mudder.  Rather than planning my first Mudder for September, I’m doing it in two days time.  Yes, that’s right.  Utter panic over here.

Getting that adventure behind me should open up some mental and physical space for the farm in general and the garden in particular.  I can’t wait.  Where I live, spring can be very quick – if you’re not actively paying attention you can easily miss it.  Even when I try I’m always surprised to come out of the front door in the morning and find that everything is perfectly green and in bloom.  However, you can’t miss spring at the farm.  The place is practically pulsing with new life.  The smell of the plants and the warm, clean air mixed with the noisy singing of the birds makes for a bold and joyful declaration of the new season.  After a long dark winter, the return of spring makes everything seem possible.  Maybe even Tough Mudder.