* March *

It's an ill wind 

that blows nobody good.  

               Old-Time Proverb



Hanging Strawberries

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Rabbit On the Run

* * *

Yesterday was the first day since last fall I've wanted to be outside for more than three minutes.  It was a day bespeckeled by occasional gold sunrays mixed with fits of misty gray rain.  By one o'clock it had warmed to almost 70 degrees and the mist was evaporating.  

I found my clippers and gloves and invited Tucker the Dog to join me in our first seasonal adventure... rabbits were beginning to show up in the mornings and early evenings, and the balm of spring had come for a visit.  We should both be there to say hello!

One of the first things to bloom this month were the Bradford pear trees.  This is a picture I took of the entrance to our neighbohood last week.  Other than the artistic changes I took the liberty to make, the trees really were almost that white.  It's a short dispay, only about four or five days, before the buds begin to turn green.  They were a sight to behold!

Bradford Pear Trees

While listening to the late-night thunder of yet another storm recently, I thought about our March weather, surely to come in as it usually does like a lion. The test sirens for tornado warnings have started back up as of last week, jolting me up from my winter ho-humness.  I used to not pay much attention to our weather; but we are, after all, at the southern tip of tornado alley, and in the last eight years or so I've lost count of the number of tornadoes that passed within a twenty-mile radius of us.  One of them was only a block away.  It shreaded the leaves off all the trees and left a carpet of green everywhere the next morning.  The air smelled like fresh evergreen. 

Keeping An Eye Out

Along with the weather, life starts to make its way back into our yard and the woods out back.  Over the years a fair number of creatures and other intruders have invaded Rabbit Hill, come spring.  I can already see signs of squirrel wars and tunnel digging.  There will no doubt be wooly worms and snakes and deer and buzzards and hornworms and hawks and bobcats; but I'm not worried.  It's all part of what makes our lives here something other than traffic and cell phones.  Besides, I have a helper or two who keep an eye on things for me--Tucker the Dog and his folkart friend, one of "The Seven Heads."  

So hold on to your straw hat; the party is about to begin.

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"The sun is nervous

as a kite

that can't quite keep

its own string tight."


John Updike, from "A Child's Calendar"

A little madness in the spring

is wholesome even for a queen. 

Emily Dickinson, poet



Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Seeds This Way

"I think this year I'm going to make it," I told myself this weekend.  Every cold January I've dreamed of growing lush greens for summer salads--nice dream, isn't it?  But year after year dreaming was only as far as I got.  It seemed that the time for planting a salad garden always came upon me too quickly, while I was still wrapped in sweaters and avoiding the outdoors.   

But it was different this year--I had a plan.  A month ago I bought bloomsdale spinach, bibb lettuce, and black seeded simpson lettuce seeds at our local homegoods store.  All I had to do this week was sprinkle the tiny ones on the top of one of my new red herb pots, and bury the slightly larger spinach seeds half an inch deep with the aid of the eraser end of a pencil.  Easy. 

A little misting each morning, and I just might see some sprouts in several days.  Spring does that to us--sends us scurrying for seeds and plants of every shape and color, as if they will grow for us as well as they have been growing in their perfectly-monitored greenhouses.  It's an impressive show of optimism that I hope we don't lose. 

Red and Ready For Herbs

If I trusted my skills at identifying wild mountain greens, I would simply gather some of the beautifully healthy greens growing all around this mountain area. My mother talked often of going into the woods to gather polk greens, but I'm not sure I have her level of knowledge for such things.  

I'm still learning, though, and in the meantime it felt good to be outside in the half-sun of March, sweeping away the dead leaves in my "up front garden," watching the hawks through the woods out back, and wondering if I'll try tomatoes again this year.  Tucker the Dog has been trying his best to get me outside everyday.  I wasn't convinced on Monday, but it's Tuesday now and already we're a team, foraging and tracking the scent of sassafras and deer.   

Yes indeed.  Things are going to start happening now, and it starts early with salad greens.  Later will come...well, who knows what?  It could be anything!  Corn?  Sure.  Figs?  Yes, indeed.  Tropical calla lillies?  Why not?  

That reminds me.  I didn't tell you about the 12 herbs I ordered online two or three months ago, did I?  They will come when our growing season starts, about mid-April.  Lemongrass?  Oh yes!  Cutting celery?  My favorite.  Fenugreek?  I can't wait.

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"It's a right tasty little weed."  

Delia Williams speaking of wild crowfoot greens

in Foxfire 2

Monday, March 18, 2019

Front Door Light


* * *

The sunlight has taken on an "out of the woods" look lately, such that from every door and window inside our home I get the feeling the outside has come for a visit.  "Come right on in" I say to that!

With our house being as small as it is, once March comes in I can go from window to door to window without ever missing a single ray of sun, and that's just how I like it.  

If I could structure one day of perfection, it just might include nothing more than a solitary chair waiting for me on the white sands of an empty beach.  The sun is straight up, and the crystal clear ocean, I see, is gently lapping near my feet.  

When I lived on the gulf coast of Florida as a teenager, I couldn't wait to get off work in the afternoons so my new sports car and I could take a ride on the worn two-lane road that curved around a small island nearby.  All I wanted was to be out where the sun and I could see what we could see.  The sky was wide, with plenty of room for all that glorious light.  It's a picture I can recall anytime, as clearly as when it happened.

Now that I no longer live near the beach, I get my sunlight wherever and whenever I can.  I found that it has as much charm in the hills and pastures and streams where we now live, as it does on the edge of oceans.  From here I can watch its light change throughout the year from sharp to slanted; I can see its orange and pink sunsets, and I can keep myself in tune with its habits--around our home, through the trees out back, or on the strawberry leaves in spring's early mornings.    

That's why I'm glad to welcome the light back in, come March.  That's about the time the first beam of sunlight burns through winter and makes its way past the front door into the entryway of our home.  From there it explodes for weeks in a thousand ways and for a thousand miles.  It takes down the old and puts up new.  Ahh, the sweet balm that renews us.  

Monet said "My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature." It seems from his paintings that he was able to do just that, as he captured the effect of light on his gardens like no one else.     

He also said "I must have flowers, always, and always."  He was right, and if I might impose on his thoughts, I would add sunlight to that.  Always and always, I must have sunlight.   


Turtle Beach

Until next time,,

The Head Rabbit

"Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun."

Ecclesiastes 11:7 NIV 

Friday, March 22, 2019

I noticed this week that the big box stores and back-alleys of commerce were lining up goods and spilling over with shiney new merchandise so that I could browse and take home a few things for the warm weather that has already started.  They provided, and I came.  Right on time. 

I found birdseed, a mango-colored cap, sage-colored bandanas to use as cloth napkins, a package of pear tomato seeds, and these water shoes for The Boys.  There now!  Everything I need for the next few weeks.  

Water Shoes, Just In Time

I try to not be hurried along by the nervous energy of shopping and other non-human activities, but it's sometimes a challenge.  In the last eight years, time has been speeding up and taking me along for the ride.  Maybe that's because we live near Atlanta, so the vortex is always pulling.  Or maybe it's because I want more than I need.  Or maybe it's not the shopping at all, but a calculated conspiracy to confuse me.  At least that's the effect.  March is especially good at stirring all this up, coming out of the winter stillness as it does.  

Most days it seems that everyone is pushing, pushing, me included.    

I have an answer, however--a small reset that works very well.  In our home you can come in the front door, walk straight ahead for about 25 feet or so, then through double glass doors to the great outdoors.  If I've been darting around the wide, wide city like a hummingbird all morning, weaving through traffic, waiting in lines, and reading too many noisy billboards, all I have to do is take that quick walk without stopping (that's important) as soon as I open the front door.  It works very well, I must say.  All that frantic time warp stuff dissipates as soon as I step onto the back patio and take a good look at the "outback" of Rabbit Hill.  There it all is, just as quiet and unhurried as I left it.  

"Now it's getting real," I tell myself.  Tucker the Dog, who always agrees with me, listens like he's never heard me say that before. 

It's not that I don't appreciate the shoes and hat and such.  They were exciting of course, and will be with me throughout the summer; but it's afternoon now, and I'm ready to slow it down.  So I take a few minutes to plant the pear tomato seeds and cut the tags off my new cloth napkins.  I find a suitable place for the birdseed (in the up-close garden), and settle into one of my "southern living" rocking chairs on the patio.  Some iced tea is a good idea, as is a notepad in case I want to think out loud on paper.  

Yes, all is well...I'm off the ride now.   Just going along, singing my song; no thought of where I've just been or where I'm going.  

Rabbit Hill Outback

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"We're lost, but we're making good time."

Yogi Berra



To continue with more of March, go to March, cont.