Spring Is Here!

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The first day of spring arrived yesterday and here in C’ville the temperatures are pleasant. The gardens are way ahead of schedule and many of the more tender blooms were killed by last week’s cold spell with night time temperatures below freezing and a wind chill on top of that. All of my plants seemed to survived but most of the fruit trees in the area lost their gorgeous blooms and there will be less than an average crop of fruit this coming year. I got to wear the down coat I bought on sale in early December. I’ve only had a few chances to use it and love the cozy warmth it provides on frigid days when the wind is whipping about.

The big concern now is a lack of moisture. We’ve had next to no snow this winter. Maybe two inches in early January and a dusting of sleet last week. And rain has been minimal as well. We’re in the early stages of drought and unless the weather patterns change in the near future, I’m afraid the farmers in this area will suffer. I’m really tired of winter vegetables at this point and have been looking forward to the opening of our local farmer’s market next month. But will there be the usual bounty of fresh produce that this farm to table community relies on?

Many of the restaurants in the area serve food that is raised locally, including grass fed meats, fresh eggs, mushrooms, and beautiful vegetables and fruit by the bushel. I feel very lucky to be living in a community that takes it’s locally grown food so seriously. And I love cooking best when I can use produce that has been tenderly cared for by people I know.

I wrote the following poem back in 2002 when we were living on the banks of the South Fork Rivanna River and were beset with a horrendous drought. I’m praying and crossing my fingers that will not be the case this coming summer.

Waiting for Rain

Mid August
the river shrinks
exposing rocks stumps
relics from another world
grass burned brown
crunches under foot
yellowed leaves spiral
to the ground
as if it’s October

I sprinkle wilted hydrangeas
a treasured viburnum
with water saved
from washing dishes
delight in a feather-worn cardinal
a brazen titmouse
preening in the birdbath
I keep refilling
just for them

I mourn as lime
moss and bottle green leaves
recede into memory
like the clatter of rain
on windows
the way thunder showers
puddle on the street
splashing as I drive
through a favorite place
to sail a tiny ship




  1. Enjoy your spring… your garden looks gorgeous!

    We still have quite a bit of snow up here in the north after last week’s storm, so we still have the end of winter blahs.

    I hope you get rain soon.

    • Saloma, how nice to hear from you. We were supposed to get snow last week as well but it fizzled and went up your way. Too bad we can’t share rain and snow instead of having it all dumped in one place. But spring will be there soon, I’m sure, and hopefully it will rain here. I just learned that so far we are over 3″ below in rainfall than expected.

  2. My heart leaps up beholding the daffodils trumpeting and forsythia in their glory. In southeast PA where I am now the forsythia bush holds a faint promise and snow is daily receding from the ground.

    Plaudits on the 2002 poetry which shows our dependency on rain which I hope falls from your skies soon.

    • Thank you so much, Marian. I’ll be doing a rain dance soon if things don’t change. Sounds like it’s still pretty wintery up in PA.

  3. Joan — Your poem, WAITING FOR RAIN, is beautiful!

  4. Your poem and garden are beautiful, Joan. We still have tons of snow and cold temperatures so spring is something we dream about up north. I hope you get some rain soon!

  5. Thank you, Kathy. I’m sure spring will be arriving up your way soon! I remember the long winters when I was living in Vermont and longing for spring to come!

  6. I love the photo of the bright yellow forsythia against the white birch bark. Forsythia is such a harbinger of spring for me. I only wish the birds could benefit more from it. Like Kathy, we still have snow covered vistas. I was out on my snowshoes yesterday. Would that we could send you a foot or two. I know you need it. How ’bout we do a rain dance together?

    • Joan Rough says:

      A rain dance sounds good, Janet. We’re supposed to have rain tonite and tomorrow in shower form which doesn’t usually amount to much. But Once it starts I’m going to go out there and get soaking wet! I’m glad you like the photo. I saw my first butterfly of the year flitting through my garden this morning. It was yellow and will have to get out my butterfly book to see if I can identify it!