Arrival of Spring seemed a fantasy. This winter had so much snow, so much below zero weather. There were so many inconveniences. Acquaintances, in a cabin while a house is being built, after the first big snowfall parked, walking for half an hour; our forester rented a bulldozer to move snow to reach cut trees; one of our drivers waited for an hour and a half for someone to help get a vehicle off an ice patch; in our furnaces we were interlacing wet boards with dry scraps and sawdust to keep fires going. Many mornings my husband opened the shutters exclaiming, ironically, "Ahhh. A winter wonderland." The worst thing was watching a friend have an accident on the road while here snow was being cleaned off a roof to prevent it collapsing.
We greet Spring deliriously. Prague spring comes earlier than in the Czech-Moravian Highlands. One year a daughter and I climbing Petrin Hill kept exclaiming over the flowers already blooming there. But spring comes to us soon. A first sign is the snowdrops blooming in a corner of the lawn. They're a protected plant, but they seem happy and every year there are more. I begin examining the flower beds: tulips and daffodils are poking up; forsythia, golden showers, are blooming; roses are sending out shoots. I check the herb garden. Did the summer savory last over the winter? Is the mint planning on taking over the oregano, or is it sticking to its own place? Have the peonies begun to come up?
Donning rubber boots, I check the garden. Are the tulips and daffodils there coming up? How is the asparagus doing - especially considering that one driver likes to haul the tractor over their spot? What will we put in the greenhouse? I also need to make sure I have pumpkin seeds for Halloween and Thanksgiving pumpkins and not just gourds as we had last year. Well, the Czech word "dyne" does refer to both of these vegetables... I look at the small nursery: before it gets too warm we really must move a tree to the park for one of the babies who hasn't had his planted yet. Some fences need repair.
It's good to hear the birds singing again. We open some windows. We put the park benches back outside, and can't resist sitting for a while. We start hanging sheets and dishtowels on the clothesline to benefit by sunshine and fresh air. But I leave the basket upside down! Those birds have no manners. And you might just as well take along rags and cleaning solution when you go to sit on a bench.
Tractor drivers are plowing the fields; the farm manager is getting the seeds and directing the planting. We check to make certain that the canola, planted in late summer, is doing well. [It's those brilliant yellow fields you see in the countryside a few weeks from now.]
Leaves on trees and shrubs are emerging. Before very long apple and cherry trees are blooming along the roadside, overwhelming in their beauty. The orchard, too, with its apple, plum, and pear trees is wearing its finery. You hope no late frost will kill the fruit buds.
It's fun to show children how everything is starting to grow. In a few weeks we can plant nasturtiums - nice big seeds for a child to handle. If you bring your children to visit us when it's mud-season you're welcome to borrow a bathtub, and I've got various pieces of outfits you may also borrow when you've washed away the mud.
Don't let minor difficulties keep you from enjoying springtime!