Ah, spring!

It’s a week and a couple of days since the last snow, but yesterday was a perfect spring day.

Early spring here is not about burgeoning and lush growth and asparagus — that’ll be next month — but about things that are brave enough to poke their heads out of the mulch. You have to admire them for their courage.

I strolled over to church in the new skirt I sewed, enjoying the soft breeze that carried the scents of the blossoming trees, and strolled back home again afterwards. Then — having fed the ravening hordes at my house — I washed the dog and dug the vegetable garden. The garden is tiny, only about 8′ square, so that is a manageable task. I pruned the winter’s worth of dead wood from the roses and the lavender, giving the new growth some air and space. The thyme released its spicy fragrance for me, and I hoed carefully around the mint and melissa to encourage them.

The iris and lilies are sticking their blade-like leaves up, and the hostas are unfurling beneath the crepe myrtles. Violets and phlox and  lamiastrum are blooming already, and the columbines and raggedy sailors and salvia — well, really everything is up and getting ready. These of course are the perennials, which live in the front. #2 son and I dug the front garden a couple of years ago and planted all these, and now we just leave them to their own devices, adding some annuals when they look lonely and clearing space for them when they seem to need it.

Soon it will be time to plant things. Green beans, onions, and lettuce, at least. Tomatoes and peppers and direct-seed flowers and herbs have to wait till later, of course.

This is the time of year when you just have to restrain yourself from planting things. The farmer’s market opens up and no one has any vegetables, just plant starts. We wander around and look at them longingly, knowing they have come out of greenhouses and won’t flourish in our back yards yet. It is part of the promise of early spring — saying not to despair, winter is ending and life goes on. But don’t plant those babies yet, or we will find that death also goes on.

Having gotten dirty and wet and sweaty, scratched by thorns and glared at by the dogs (and having thoroughly enjoyed all these things, I admit), I then repaired to my porch with knitting and this novel, which is set in Maine in winter. The contrast of the weather in the book and the weather on my porch was piquant.

I finished the second ball of Orchid Regal, but it is still just a stockinette rectangle. I’m putting its picture in with a nice old garden chair, in an attempt to make the knitting look interesting.

It works for Martha Stewart.

I am enjoying this book, even if it is distinctly out of season. Nowadays, since I rely on Booksfree and Frugalreader for my everyday reading, I have a fairly random selection of novels, and I read them when they arrive. I had not read anything by Sarah Graves before, but I will track down more of her books. She has a plucky heroine and interesting minor characters and plenty of local color.

In this book, there is a claim that someone can make fox-and-geese mittens in an evening.

Naturally, I had to google to find out what these fox-and-geese mittens might be. It appears from my cursory study that they are the square Sanquhar pattern, rather like this. I have made Sanquhar socks, so I feel that I can say with certainty that that is a flat out lie.

Will it turn out to be a clue? That is the real question.