What a difference a week makes

It’s been a long, cold winter here in the Northeast, and spring is coming later than usual. About two weeks ago, when I would normally be thinking of planting peas, I went out to my garden and found this:

Snow on the garden


Then last Monday, I was scheduled to lead a guide training walk at Garden and the Woods, and our training walk was cancelled for the second time. It wasn’t just the cold sleet that was pelting down (that usually wouldn’t stop us), but the fact that the hilly trails were still ice-covered and slippery. After class, I did go on my own down to the frozen pond, but that’s as far as I wanted to venture.

GitW frozen pond

But the very next day, things started looking up. It was warm enough that I was able to let the kitties out to play on the screen porch, which they were crazy about. Since then, I’ve been letting them out whenever it’s warm enough that I can leave the slider propped open, so they can go out and in at will. So many interesting sounds and smells, with birds and squirrels flitting by now and then. I’m sure they find it fascinating!

Kitties on porch

That same day, I saw the first signs of life in the garden – snowdrops coming up through the thin layer of ice. And by afternoon, even that ice had melted, although we still had the remnants of our snowplow piles a couple of feet deep at the edge of our parking area.


A few days later, once the snow had melted off my garden, I got out to start some cleanup. The compost pile was still frozen once I’d penetrated a few inches down, so I stuck to working above ground. The biggest job was pruning the raspberries, which produced this huge pile of stalks to throw away.

Raspberry pile

And here’s what remained. (This still could use a bit more thinning, but I’d run out of steam.)

Pruned raspberries

So I spent some time just relaxing in the warm sun in one of my garden chairs. It was delightful! (It’s hard to make it out, but you can just barely see a patch of snow that still lingers in the shadow of the spruce trees in the distance.)

Garden view

Yesterday it got cloudy again, but I had some fun outside nevertheless, heading off to an orienteering meet in Waltham.


I did an easy course because I wasn’t sure how well my newly-cortisoned hip would hold up, but it did fine and I really enjoyed getting back into orienteering after not having done it very much in the past few years. One of the big changes that I’m still getting used to is electronic punching, which makes the whole thing much easier, as you can start whenever you want instead of having to get assigned a start time. And you get a printout of your time to each control at the finish, which is nice. You can see my results here. I was 5th out of 16th on the Yellow course, which was a great finish for me. Clearly the first 4 ran the course, and the rest of us were walking, so there was a 20-minute gap between the two groups, but I was first among the walkers.

Today was another nice day, and between yesterday and today, the ice finally melted off Farrar Pond. It was a great joy to drive by and see blue water again instead of a cold expanse of white. So I did as much outdoors as I had the strength for, and I’m feeling the pain tonight. I turned over the pea bed and set up the trellis, so everything’s all ready for planting. And more things were showing signs of life – here are the first shoots in the communal rhubarb patch.


So I’m declaring victory. It’s really spring. At last! I’ll leave you with a picture of the bulbs that I potted up last fall, that are blooming in my bedroom window.

Bedroom flowers



One thought on “What a difference a week makes

  1. Wow, that’s a great finish, especially after a couple of years of not orienteering very much. Congratulations!

    I’m declaring it spring here at Toad Woods, too. There are still a couple little patches of snow, and plow mountain is still about 3 feet high, with nearly as much sand as ice. But the skunk cabbage is poking up through the forest floor, the marshy bits are clearly filled with liquid water rather than being frozen ground, and crocus are blooming in the yard.

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