I got a very happy save the date postcard in the mail the other day for the Friends School Plant Sale I always go to in May. I love getting this postcard because there is a beautiful photo of a plant, or plants, on it and it gives me something to look forward to when there is still snow on the ground outside. This little postcard is also my cue to start the garden planning.

Not that I haven’t done any planning already, I have, since I bought all my seeds for spring. But now comes the details. First I need to begin making paper pots for seed starting. Then I have to start looking at the seeds and figuring out how much I want to plant of each one, how much space it needs and where I am going to plant it in the garden. This might entail making some alterations to garden beds, or even digging some new ones. So then there is additional planning for that.

I also know I want to start working on the front yard a bit more this year. There is still plenty of grass under the maple tree and I have ideas about what I want to do with this area. Digging up grass needs to take place, putting in edging for a path, figuring out how big of an area we want to begin with and the plants we want to try and grow in it.

All this takes place before the snow is gone and we can start work outdoors. It seems like spring takes forever to get here and every year no matter how much planning I have done, when I can finally get outdoors there is a frantic rush to get everything done. Sometimes we manage it but most of the time we bite off more than we can chew. I shouldn’t say we since I am the one who does all the planning and Bookman, well, as he says, just tell me where to dig.

Messy okra faces

It was such a beautiful melty thaw sort of day yesterday I let the Dashwoods out of the run in the afternoon. They ventured across the slushy snow to the deck where they hung out for several hours, looking in the window, preening, and hoping for handouts. They did get a treat of okara, soybean mash, which they love and get all over themselves.

When it came time to go back in the run, the snow they had walked across to get to the deck suddenly became a barrier they refused to cross. Margaret did, she was the only one I didn’t have to ferry. She and I were walking slowly down the garden path when from behind us Marianne decided to launch herself off the deck and try and fly her way across the garden. She only ever makes it about halfway and this time I presented an additional navigational challenge and she ended up landing in a snowdrift. She just stood there with snow up to her wings, looking a bit nonplussed. As unhappy as she was, she refused to budge.

So I picked her up and put her on the garden path. The path still has snow on it but it is a thin, crusty layer, nothing to sink into. She stood there with her legs splayed apart, still refusing to move. I scooped her up and carried her to the run. While she didn’t like me carrying her, she was happy to not be standing in snow anymore.

I walked back up the garden path calling to Elinor and Mrs. Dashwood both of whom were standing on the deck steps looking at the snow. They kept going back up on the deck then coming back down the steps only to turn around when the snow was still there. I ferried Mrs. Dashwood to the run. Margaret had finally made her way down the path and to the gate so I called her until she came down the garden steps and went into the run.

Meanwhile, Elinor is pacing back and forth on the deck. She clearly wanted to be in the run too but that darn snow! Why they are all fine walking across it to get to the deck but not walking back across it to get to the run is beyond me. Elinor doesn’t like to be picked up, but once she is tucked under my arm and feels secure she doesn’t mind being carried.

With all the Dashwoods now in the run, the coaxing to get them into the coop begins. They know it is time to go to bed, but they have to make a production of it. It is often hilarious. And woe is me if I am in a hurry because the Dashwoods seldom are.

We are expecting snow on Monday. It could be a little or it could be a lot. Either way, the Dashwoods are not going to have snow-free ground to walk on for at least another month or two.

While my ground remains frozen yours might be thawing. Here’s a lovely little video a local native plant nursery made about why it is important to include native plants in the garden. Consider adding some native plants to your own garden this spring!