It was noon and I found myself trapped in my office surrounded by seeds. Bags of seed, bowls of seed, buckets, jars, baskets. There was hardly room to move. After filling my 75th envelope I was hungry but I wouldn’t allow myself t0 stop working on the wedding favor order. My lightheadedness increased with each envelope. By envelope 100 I was punchy. I found myself repeating the list of things I needed to do, incapable of organizing myself amidst the chaos of seeds.
“Eat lunch. Dig some stuff. Then… dig some more stuff…” I said it outloud. I said it as if it were a carefully constructed plan. As if forgetting one detail might throw the whole thing into disarray. After eating leftovers from Woody’s visit to the farmstead I felt better. I just started digging and I didn’t need to remind myself to dig. Later I sat at my desk and cut out pictures of gnomes instead of the seed envelopes I should have been cutting. What can you do? Embrace it. It’s spring.
When I first wrote the title of this post I typed “Woody’s Annual Visit.” But then I stopped and thought about how inaccurate that was. By now Woody’s arrival to the farmstead in spring is as reliable as the daylilies, irises, coreopsis, and peony. I spend the spring focusing on the details that keep this place running. I turn beds over, I plant seeds, and onions, and potatoes. I reference seven years worth of vegetable and flower garden maps for rotation. I weed, I mulch, I amend. And while I walk from the shed to the gardens, I inevitably make lists of a hundred other projects I see that need to get finished. Projects that start to make my breathing speed up. Projects whose completion I have no faith will happen -until Woody arrives.
Each time he comes I take a few days off from the daily grind so that Eric and I can focus on the bigger picture. I pull out my long range list. Along with the yearly sharpening of tools with Uncle Luther’s electric grindstone we also tackle our dream list of projects. “Dream list” makes it sound…well, dreamy. But the list includes things like making Woody climb up into a 40 foot pine tree to cut off its dead leader, and reclaiming the back hillside that once upon a time my Grandparents’ groundskeeper decided was his own personal landfill. We pulled a truck-full of metal out of the hill. Eric and Woody took it to the scrap yard and brought home $128. I’m starting to think we might be able to fund the farm this way.
Woody’s girlfriend arrived on Friday. While Eric and Woody were declaring war on a stubborn tree root that was threatening the house’s foundation I asked her if she didn’t mind shelling seeds for me. She sat at the picnic table in the sunshine shelling happily for hours. I told her she could stop on several occasions, but she refused. After a few hours she had shelled the entire paper grocery bag of seeds.
The thought of sitting for hours to shell sweet pea seeds makes me panic. All I can think about is all of the other work that isn’t getting done. So I don’t shell sweet pea seeds. I store them in paper bags in the seed room and shell them to order. But for a recent wedding favor order the request was for wildflower seeds that included sweet peas. Today while I filled seed packets with sweet peas (inbetween reminding myself I needed to dig things and cutting out pictures of gnomes) I was grateful for the help and I realized I should start asking for more of it. But I’m really not good at that.
P.S. Every day is Earth Day.