Cappers Farmer

Annual Springtime Jobs Include Yard Work

Is there anything more motivating than springtime? If there are any traces of snow left, it’s usually in the form of little melting rivulets headed for streams and rivers. The cold, unforgiving Minnesota winter is in my rearview mirror, and warmer weather is gaining a toehold.

That warm weather brings with it spring chores. It’s time to trade in the snow shovels for garden tools and hoses. I keep a rake handy to gently brush leftover leaves from the daffodils and tulips as they appear from the ground. Who isn’t anxious to see some bright, beautiful reds and yellows after enduring winter’s gray and white for several months?

My husband, although he’s not interested in gardening, faithfully tills the garden plot for me every spring and fall. Then I go to work marking my rows and trying to keep them straight, using two small wooden slats that have heavy string wound around them. I carefully unwind the string as I eyeball where the row should be placed, and then I mark it by hoeing a shallow furrow. Once that’s done, I continue by planting pea, lettuce and radish seeds in the rows, covering them just a bit with dirt, then gently watering them so they’ll grow and produce delicious food.

I don’t mind the slight dampness that sometimes hangs in the air as I go through my springtime rituals because I know warmer days are ahead. The air is washed clean, and bright blue skies and puffy clouds return. I sometimes see small dust devils form from the changing temperatures and watch bits of dried leaves swirl in the air. As I work outside, raking up what remains of last year’s leaves, I’m often serenaded by the birds that have returned and gathered in the trees in our ravine. They sound like they enjoy springtime, too, and soon they’ll start their own chore of building nests.

I enjoy growing herbs and flowers in pots, and spring is the time to fill those pots with dirt from the garden plot where it’s been tilled but not yet planted. Then I place the pots on the deck and wait patiently until the outdoor temperatures rise so it’s safe to plant the tender seeds and bedding plants.

One of our yearly spring rituals involves junk removal from the ditches on our gravel road. Even when my kids were small, they enjoyed sorting and recycling all the junk we picked up.

Now for my favorite “chore” — which isn’t a chore at all. I love to decorate the yard and garden with outdoor décor. Over the years, I’ve collected a variety of items, including garden statues, welcome signs, whimsical cutouts, small cement chipmunks and squirrels, a birdhouse, religious statues, a hummingbird feeder, little “swirlies” that blow in the breeze, and wind chimes, both large and small. As spring nears, I drag out these treasures, which end up in various places on our property: the garden, in front of the house, on large stumps in the yard, and even the clothesline, which is a perfect spot for small wind chimes.

To me, spring holds a lot of promise, and life is easier in general. Even airing sheets on the clothesline to freshen them up or picking up branches in the yard is a labor of love. It’s the time of year you can’t keep me in the house!

Belle Plaine, Minnesota

Read more stories about spring chores in Heart of the Home: Spring Activities.

  • Published on Feb 11, 2014
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