Spring is finally here. I mean real spring. Not just supposed-to-be-spring. And as Hubby said the other day, “It’s like being reborn. Or something.”
Our apple tree is budding, the daffodils and the narcissus are blooming. I have to say our poor tulips have taken a hit. They tried to come up a few weeks ago, foolhardy little things that they are. Then they stalled while it snowed and sleeted, and now even though they’re blooming, they look as if they’ve been through the wars. Kind of shell-shocked, so to speak.
Hubby is out roto-tilling the vegetable garden this morning. And finally planting his peas. He’s been stressing about his peas. Hubby loves his garden. He loves to plan it, plant it, watch it grow, and then grumble about how much he’s planted, and how much work it is. And how he will definitely cut back next year. Ha. I’ll let you know if that ever happens.
I don’t know how we’d get along without the garden. Oh, of course we’d ‘get along,’ maybe shop farmer’s markets for fresh vegetables or something. But there’s nothing like being able to pop out to the back yard to pick lettuce, or carrots, or basil and tomatoes for supper, or lunch.
Luckily for us, Hubby loves to garden. Because I hate it. Really hate it. You see, back when I was a kid, we had acres and acres of garden. Seriously. And therein, my friends, lies the story of why I DO NOT garden.
Oh god, how I’d groan when my mum would say, “The beans are ready.” I think it’s seared on my brain, the image of crouching in the garden, between the rows, picking and picking, and filling big plastic buckets with green or yellow beans. In my memory the day was always too hot, and when I’d glance up, the rows still to be picked seemed to stretch to the horizon and beyond. Actually since the garden was on a slope and I would have been facing uphill, it probably did stretch into the horizon. Sometimes if I pulled too hard on a big handful of beans, the whole plant would come out of the ground. And dreadful, selfish fifteen-year-old that I was, I confess to feeling a bit smug that this meant fewer beans for the next picking.
There was always, always something I’d rather be doing than picking beans. Helping hay, driving the tractor, running the ferry, reading that book waiting for me in my room. And when Hubby and I were first together, and I saw the size of the vegetable garden he planted, I made my feelings about gardening very clear.
Every year I feel somewhat guilty for not helping more in the garden. But Hubby and I have an understanding about my not gardening. It’s sort of an unwritten pre-nuptial agreement. Ha. Still, at least once every summer, he comes into the house and yells, “Suz, the beans are ready.” And chuckles.
This week hasn’t all been about Hubby’s gardening and my not. I’ve been walking on the trail in the sunshine. And we’ve been biking, and not into gale forces winds. And not in jackets, and gloves, with our cycling shorts layered over ski underwear. This week, we biked in balmy 20°C temperatures, sunshine, and no wind. And when we stopped at one point to look for the llama that are usually grazing in one particular farmer’s field, Hubby looked at me and we sighed. Then he said: “It almost feels like being reborn. Or something.” Yep. Then we came home and decided that fresh fiddleheads and steak on the barbeque would be an appropriate celebration of spring’s arrival.
Aside from the annual flooding of the Saint John River, nothing heralds the beginning of spring for a New Brunswicker like that first meal of fresh fiddleheads. The early settlers along the Saint John River where I’m from learned of the wild edible ferns from the Maliseet indigenous people who’d been eating them for centuries. And I was more than surprised when Hubby and I were first together that he knew a place near here where the wild fiddleheads grew. And now every year we pick a few meals. It wouldn’t seem like spring without at least one feed of fiddleheads. You can read more about fiddleheads here if you’re interested.
So spring has sprung, folks. The bikes are out of the shed for the season. The winter coats and boots are all packed away. Hubby has booked his first fishing and canoeing trip of the year. And gardening season is in full swing. Gulp.
I’m not totally gardening averse, you know. I help with the flowers, choosing the bedding plants, and weeding… once in a while. But I draw the line at picking beans. I really do.
How about you my friends? Any visceral childhood (or teenage) memories that have had an impact on what you choose to do (or not do in my case) as an adult? Any wild edibles where you come from? Or ones that you want to tell us about?