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May 12, 2021

Clyde: Get out of your hibernaculum 

By Clyde

Ah, the first signs of spring — groundhog sightings, the first warm day, the first worm in a mud puddle and the long-awaited seed catalogs arrive.

Thomas Jefferson on May 17, 1792 wrote in his diary “welcome the country sound of the whippoorwill, the spring chorus of the frogs, the sky-winged flash of a bluebird and the greening of the willows. Alas, where would we be without the hope that springs eternal. Genesis 47:19 says, “And give us seed that we may live … that the land be not desolate.”

A few fatigued farmsteads not far from Five Forks fearlessly face the futile futureless foreboding forecast of fallow fields of feast, famine or flood to fertilize the feudal furrow.

Climate-controlled hydroponics are still a few years away, Dr. Chris. Who still shells butterbeans or freezes corn on the cob anymore? We just look for the Food Lion label or grow your own.

From the High Pointer newspaper on Friday, April 23, 1926, “We work hard, we’re paying our way and we are able to make it homegrown in the U.S.A. You can plant too early, before the last frost, who knows when that will be but Jack. When you do, ask yourself, ‘Is your garden planned?’ ”

Simultaneously with the first spring thaw, advertisements for garden and seed pamphlets make their optimistic appeal for consideration by the man with a yard. This is the time to weigh thoughtfully the comparative values of a flock of tomatoes or a group of asters, green peas or the multi-hued sweet variety, bulky cabbages or pansies; perhaps a little of this and a little of that, but of course a small patch of mint and some lettuce. Summer is not yet a-coming in, as chants the English song, but the weeks are few indeed until the man who means business will begin to estimate his garden space and overestimate his own enthusiasm for working it. A bit of garden certainty makes the home, and everything gains by anticipation. So, look over the seed catalogs and cream of the crop.

Those luscious fruits are not really a reality — like the picture on the cereal box shows a lot more cranberries. The promise of a Chinese Raintree turns out to be Ailanthus Altissima, a pest like Kudzu.

“Thou shalt not sow they field with mingled seed” states Leviticus 19:19. From your dooryard on the other hand, “common nasturtium seeds when gathered young and green on a dry day and pickled in vinegar, form an excellent substitute for capers and indeed are preferable.” Sun or shade can be like night and day. Water is a God send.

So, pick your seeds smartly. Transplant your perennials proudly. Trim your trees tenderly. Water the whole wisely, and the bounty will soon be a-coming in — maybe not just like the pictures, but the flower will smell just as sweet and the fruits of your labors will taste just as good — home grown and handmade from dirt.

Prepare your soil with spade, tiller or cultivator. “Break up your fallow grown and sow not among thorns,” states Jeremiah 4:3.

Recite along with Poor Richard: “Plough deep while sluggards sleep” and when the Bell Tower Green blooms on the town common each year and Uncle Jimmy’s Hurley Park sprouts new growth buds, we can be reassured the seeds of hope were planted for us to see and enjoy. Stay off the Pokemon cell phone long enough to pause to reflect on the nature of things and know that we planted it just right.

Psalm 126:5 states, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

Clyde lives in Salisbury.

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