first day of cleanup: a tentative start to a new outdoor season
REPORT FROM THE FRONT: I still can’t even find the hellebores and epimediums to cut them back—usually my first outdoor assignment of each new season. This is some seriously tenacious snow, at least up here on my steep hillside.
Down the road apiece, all the flat, wide-open fields of my farmer neighbors revealed themselves the last few days, but not here. Not yet.
Yesterday my beloved old friends from Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, MA, came anyway to prune the beloved century-plus-old apple trees, despite having to trudge through all the white stuff. We just couldn’t wait any longer. (And I can’t do it without them, as the top-of-page photo reveals—I think that aluminum apple ladder is a 12-footer, to give you some idea of how high up the climb would be.)
They took a stern hand to the Asian pear espalier on the back of the house, too, that I’d let have its way the last year or two or three (above). Naughty me.
I guess it’s going fast now, the meltdown is, and I actually located a little spot on the paving stones near the house yesterday where I could rake awhile, satisfied by the rhythmic sound of metal tines on stones, delighted to gather up my first 2018 tip bag full of debris (below).
I found myself laughing a lot just at the fact of being out there—despite having to waddle cautiously and clumsily on the slippery terrain, despite being confined with my rake to a tiny dominion. Liberated, at last (at least a little).
HOW IS YOUR SPRING UNFOLDING? Won’t you tell me—tell all of us—in the comments box at the very bottom of the page?
While you’re here, these other stories from the archive may help if you are a little farther along already in your own cleanup, or whenever you’re ready to prep some beds or smother some weeds.