Chives! If you have them, I'll bet you love them. And if you don't, I'm going to convince you to find some and grow your own. They're practically impossible to kill, and they're the first edible perennial that appears in the spring after the snow melts. The mild onion flavour is perfect in salads, with eggs, in biscuits, and of course, with potatoes. Potato salad, roasted potato, baked potatoes - you can't go wrong with that combination. You can make infused vinegars with the blossoms (which will be open soon, as you can see) and tossed into a salad, they're beautiful and delicious. You can grow them in a pot, but I think they'll grow in pretty much any kind of soil, so give it a try. They're a couple of dollars at the garden centre, and you will have them forever. Or if you know a friend with an established clump, take a spade and split it - easy peasy, and the chives will thank you. Thomas, who is five, almost always has a sprig in his mouth if he's outside. Then he says "Smell my breath! Smell my breath!" and breathes like a dragon into my face.
I picked up a few other favourite herbs recently, too - tarragon and I have been having a love affair for a few years now, but my nicely established one didn't survive the move last summer. So I have some started in a pot on the back step, along with some thyme that I've had going for a few years, and those teeny little springs in the bottom pot are grocery store mint cuttings that I rooted in water on the kitchen windowsill and moved outdoors. I also bought no fewer than five other mint plants (mostly peppermint, also orange mint and chocolate mint) and have started what I am hoping will be the biggest mint patch in the county. Rather than containing it in pots like most people do (it takes over quite handily) I am giving it free reign over several spots, including down by the pond, where it's fairly damp, and I'm eager to see how it does. I love having these herbs just outside the door closest to the kitchen, though - I think that they're more likely to be used, which is entirely the point. Also, assorted terra cotta pots filled with herbs give me a little thrill.
Flowers are taking over, and the bees and I are both over the moon with this development. I find it so hard to concentrate on anything indoors at this time of year! There is this little lilac next to the house, and there's an old one that I'm hoping to redeem on the way to the barn. Both will have a few blooms this year; I'm hoping that with some love, they'll give us more and more as the years go by.
The apple blossoms are just starting to open, too. We have many old apples trees, and in another day or two they'll be in full bloom. They smell amazing. Our pear trees which we planted last spring before we moved here are looking great. Adam put up some deer fencing from Lee Valley around individual trees last summer, and there are many, many blossoms on the pears and cherries.
I usually think that I'm going to be able to avoid the lure of annuals at the garden centre, but we all know how that goes. I'm fluffing up a little seating area outside (pictures to come once it stops raining) and some sweet little violas are bobbing around back there. And I had to put together some planters by the front door, and Phillip really liked the marigolds... you can see where this is going. There are far worse habits than gardening though, right?
Oh, and by the way - we have 18 Easter Egger chicks in a brooder (chick hotel as the boys call it) in the basement! (She said casually.) I am very, very excited about this development. More chicks of a variety of breeds (and more pictures) to come. If all goes as planned, we should have some beautiful eggs in all sorts of gorgeous colours starting around October. And a couple of handsome, kind and gentle roosters to keep the process going next year. Picking up these chicks turned into a bit of an adventure - I picked them up before work on Friday from someone almost three hours away from home. (I was working with another teacher in a different area for the day; I'm not usually that far from home.) By the time we were finished with students, I was really eager to get home with the chicks and get them settled in - I knew that the day has been stressful for them, and I had been up since 4:45, so I was ready to be home, too. I stopped to get a bite to eat and to check on them when I was an hour from home, and then the car wouldn't start. And it wouldn't start again. And not the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or twenty-fifth time I tried, either. Thankfully, I have CAA coverage, and the car was towed to our mechanic. Funnily enough, the tow truck driver and I had chatted last fall on the ferry to one of the schools that I visit - he also keeps bees and has chickens, and he saw my 'beekeeper' decal on the car and introduced himself then. All of that to say that we were all very glad to be home on Friday, and I was happy to have a tow truck driver who didn't mind a damp, slightly-smelly box of 18 chicks propped up on the seat between us for the hour-long ride.