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Bookman gave me a new mug!

Spring may have sprung but there is not much spring happening at the moment. It looks and feels like we are stuck, neither cold nor warm. The swelling buds on the shrubs and trees have not progressed, grass is not turning green, no bulbs are yet poking their way through the mulch, it’s all rather drab, waiting. It is just as well that the plants are waiting because if they burst their buds too early they could get a nasty snowstorm surprise. But of course, the plants and the humans are getting a little impatient.

One thing I no longer have to wait for is the Friends School Plant Sale catalog. It was published online Wednesday and arrived in paper form in my mailbox on Friday. This plant sale, as some of you may know, is an event. Bookman and I have been attending every year since something like 2001 when the Friends School (the school is a grade school run by the Quakers) had the sale on the school playground under one big tent. Now it is in the grand stand building at the State Fairgrounds. Obviously it is an event for a lot of other people in the Twin Cities too.

I have gleefully gone through the catalog and marked all sorts of prospects as though I lived on acres instead of a small city parcel. In the next week or two I’ll start going through and “weeding” out the plants that are unrealistic until I have the list narrowed down to a more a reasonable size and know where each thing on the list will go. It is great good fun, kind of like when you see those lists of books to be published during the year and all your favorite authors are on them.

In the seed sprouting corner of my living room, things are going really well. I turned the heat mat off yesterday because all the seed pots have sprouted. Peppers and tomatoes are all such substantial sprouts, this last round of basil, shiso, cumin, and garden huckleberry are so tiny and delicate. The amazing thing is that these delicate little sprouts will grow, hopefully, into pretty substantial plants. I mean, the shiso we planted last year grew to be over a meter tall and had a stalk as big around as my wrist that I had to hack off at the base at the end of the season because I couldn’t pull it out of the ground. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was impossible that one could turn into the other.

This week I also introduced “wind” to the sprout operation. For about an hour a day I turn a fan on low to blow across the sprouts. This facilitates them growing stout, strong stems. The only thing I will change so far for next year is getting two more lights. I thought I could get away with just two, but with everything sprouted now it is clear that four lights is preferable. But I can make due, it just involves lots of fiddling and plant rotation to ensure all the seedlings are getting enough light.

With this not cold not warm weather (which has also been grey and rather depressing), the Dashwoods have been able to spend lots of time out and about in the garden. In surveying it all today we have noticed that those chickens have the whole thing fairly well turned over. All the soil in the empty vegetable beds is loose and extremely well fertilized. The Dashwoods excel at their work, sometimes a bit too well since there are some holes in the garden that look like I have a dog who likes to dig.

Bookman and I took down some of the plastic sheeting from around the run today, just on one side away from the direction wind and rain and snow generally blow from. This will afford the Dashwoods some views outside the run once again during the day when they are enclosed. I know when I get home from work and go let them out into the garden they are wound up and take off as soon as I open the door. With the ability to see out upon the world again it will help them not be so bored. And maybe help them be a little calmer too.