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Saturday essay: If spring comes ...

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Friday, March 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Putting up that third cord of firewood proved prescient this year. The winter that won't go away has necessitated (at least psychologically) fires most nights and, often, all day on the weekends.

The dogs and their humans, however, are getting restless. And the fact that the robins and grackles have stripped clean the crab apple tree overhanging, and dropping its shriveled sour fruit to, the back deck means there's not much entertainment on these stubbornly cold days of a spring that won't come.

It's not exactly cabin fever. But it's not far off, either.

For plenty of chores await and each cold day that becomes the latest cold week leaves less time to get them done.

Nine greenhouse “windows” — actually rubberized marine vinyl — need to be replaced. And the inside of the greenhouse must be power washed before the spring lettuce, Swiss chard and, this year, wheat (to be grown as ornamental grass) go in.

Five raised garden beds need their still-frozen soil tested and amended. And room must be found to, somewhere, squeeze in a sixth bed to replace the space now permanently home to third-year asparagus. Whatever crop wins the new prime spot surely will consider itself the cock-of-the-veggie-walk this summer.

The harvest basket, however, clearly is being put before the tilling hoe.

But as Shelley surely would have reminded, “If spring comes, can spring be far behind?”

— Colin McNickle

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