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Posts tagged “backyard garden

On Planting Peas

Pease Vine
Pease Vine

Pease Vine

It’s my annual paean to gardening and the cycles of life.

Every year in the month of March I awaken one morning with the knowledge it’s time to plant the peas, another step in the flow of the seasons. Though I have plants growing indoors, this is truly the beginning of the gardening season for me. Whether it’s the sun, moon, weather, schedule or simple urge to get out there and get my hands dirty I don’t know, but I enjoy the simple manual labor without assistance from any electronic device, ears open to the birds, face feeling the breeze, hands and feet feeling the earth. Many a photo, poem, essay and painting has been inspired by the simple acts of growing things.

Today might be the day though I have much cleanup out there and the soil is either too frozen or too soggy, yet very son I feel, it will be, and then I will be far too busy, and nowhere near my computer, to post this essay, so I want to share it now, and share my excitement for the coming season of growing. I first read this essay for the first New Year Poetry and Prose Reading of the erstwhile Carnegie Writer’s Group which I’d led from 2003 to 2006. In the meantime, my “Early Sweetness” peas are at the ready for when the day comes.

On Planting Peas

It is early March and I am planting peas. The wan spring sun is finding its heat and lays like a warm hand upon my back as I work. Signs of approaching spring fill my senses in the mild air on my skin, the scent of damp soil and the shrieks of children as they run in frenzied circles of freedom, much like the birds swooping and circling above whistling their mix of songs.

We have passed the first intoxicating days of air that does not bite, endless sun warm enough to melt the last snowfall into a composition of dripping and trickling, soften the soil and make one’s blood run with the abandon of a stream overflowing with spring thaw. The dawns have come noticeably earlier and the muted indigo dusks have lost the sharp quickness of winter and softened to a moist lingering evening.

Perhaps it is the phase of the sun or the moon, the proximity to the vernal equinox or some eternal voice that speaks to those who will listen about the time and season of things, or my own impatience to join in with the cycle that has been going on without me for a few months. Whether it is any of these reasons or all of them or none of them, I awaken one day in March every year with the knowledge that this is the day to plant the peas. It is as clear a yearly anniversary for me as any holiday, and can…

Click here to visit my professional and creative writing page to read the rest of On Planting Peas


Yellow Beans

basket of yellow beans
basket of yellow beans

Yellow beans beauty shot.

Four pounds of yellow beans today—the very first thing from my garden after a late start, extended cool weather, excessive heat, heavy rains, and a 70-foot maple tree falling on a portion of it. Yellow beans are like green beans, but better, sweeter, more tender, less of that stringy starchy nature beans get when they’ve been hanging on the plant for too long. I’ve grown them for so many years that I’m surprised when I find other gardeners don’t know about them, or think they are somehow exotic. They are just yellow beans, and lightly steamed and buttered they are a meal in themselves.

basket of yellow beans

Yellow beans in the garden.


Essay for Saturday: On Planting Peas

Pease Vine
Pease Vine

Pease Vine

It’s my annual paean to gardening and the cycles of life.

Every year in the month of March I awaken one morning with the knowledge it’s time to plant the peas, another step in the flow of the seasons. Though I have plants growing indoors, this is truly the beginning of the gardening season for me. Whether it’s the sun, moon, weather, schedule or simple urge to get out there and get my hands dirty I don’t know, but I enjoy the simple manual labor without assistance from any electronic device, ears open to the birds, face feeling the breeze, hands and feet feeling the earth. Many a photo, poem, essay and painting has been inspired by the simple acts of growing things.

Today is not the day, yet later this week, I feel, it will be, and then I will be far too busy, and nowhere near my computer, to post this essay, so I want to share it now, and share my excitement for the coming season of growing. I first read this essay for the first New Year Poetry and Prose Reading of the erstwhile Carnegie Writer’s Group which I’d led from 2003 to 2006. In the meantime, I’m soaking my “Early Sweetness” peas so I’m ready when the day comes.

On Planting Peas

It is early March and I am planting peas. The wan spring sun is finding its heat and lays like a warm hand upon my back as I work. Signs of approaching spring fill my senses in the mild air on my skin, the scent of damp soil and the shrieks of children as they run in frenzied circles of freedom, much like the birds swooping and circling above whistling their mix of songs.

We have passed the first intoxicating days of air that does not bite, endless sun warm enough to melt the last snowfall into a composition of dripping and trickling, soften the soil and make one’s blood run with the abandon of a stream overflowing with spring thaw. The dawns have come noticeably earlier and the muted indigo dusks have lost the sharp quickness of winter and softened to a moist lingering evening.

Perhaps it is the phase of the sun or the moon, the proximity to the vernal equinox or some eternal voice that speaks to those who will listen about the time and season of things, or my own impatience to join in with the cycle that has been going on without me for a few months. Whether it is any of these reasons or all of them or none of them, I awaken one day in March every year with the knowledge that this is the day to plant the peas. It is as clear a yearly anniversary for me as any holiday, and can…

Click here to visit my professional and creative writing page to read the rest of On Planting Peas


Daffodils in a Row: 2010

three daffodils

Daffodils in a Row

I’ve taken so many photos of daffodils this spring—after the snowy winter where they were protected under a heavy blanket of snow, then slowly watered as the snow melted, they were encouraged by the warm weather to push forth, form buds and bloom! Even though they are a little later than usual, they certainly caught up with their usual schedule.


My Garden Waits Under a Blanket of Spring: 2010

photo of a garden under the snow

My Garden Waits Under a Blanket of Spring

My garden waits under a blanket of spring

gently rippled snow comforting to the earth

drowsing buds protected by the cover

will burst and pour forth

hot, humid mornings, big yellow spiders and baskets of green beans

this heavy cover now protects, will melt and nourish.

I am preparing for my fourth annual poetry reading and art exhibit, this year entitled “Coming Spring”. Read about it on my “What’s New?” blog, and if you’re in the Pittsburgh area I’d love to see you there.

That’s what my yard looked like, and what I was doing two years ago! I like the snow…poetry reading went well.


On Planting Peas

pea vine tendril

Pease Vine

It’s my annual paean to gardening and the cycles of life.

Every year in the month of March I awaken one morning with the knowledge it’s time to plant the peas, another step in the flow of the seasons. Though I have plants growing indoors, this is truly the beginning of the gardening season for me. Whether it’s the sun, moon, weather, schedule or simple urge to get out there and get my hands dirty I don’t know, but I enjoy the simple manual labor without assistance from any electronic device, ears open to the birds, face feeling the breeze, hands and feet feeling the earth.

This photo is obviously not from today, but one of my favorites from pease past.

Click here to read “On Planting Peas”


Daffodils in a Row

photo of daffodils

Daffodils in a Row

I’ve taken so many photos of daffodils this spring—after the snowy winter where they were protected under a heavy blanket of snow, then slowly watered as the snow melted, they were encouraged by the warm weather to push forth, form buds and bloom! Even though they are a little later than usual, they certainly caught up with their usual schedule.


My Garden Waits Under a Blanket of Spring

photo of a garden under the snow

My Garden Waits Under a Blanket of Spring

My garden waits under a blanket of spring

gently rippled snow comforting to the earth

drowsing buds protected by the cover

will burst and pour forth

hot, humid mornings, big yellow spiders and baskets of green beans

this heavy cover now protects, will melt and nourish.

I am preparing for my fourth annual poetry reading and art exhibit, this year entitled “Coming Spring”. Read about it on my “What’s New?” blog, and if you’re in the Pittsburgh area I’d love to see you there.