Saturday, April 24, 2010

So Go Sow!

Sipping morning coffee while reading the paper, I catch a glimpse of a brown streak on the porch. Even before I turn to look, I know what’s going on. He’s at it again. Once more I open the door, shout, stomp and generally raise a ruckus in the hopes of scaring him off - or at least changing his ways. There’s not a chance.

With the gradually lengthening days and warming temperatures I, too, have seeds on my mind. The garden has been cultivated and weeded, snap peas and the first package of spinach seeds sown. Supposedly, spinach loves 40 degrees and I do hope that’s true. Last year, I thought I’d planted it early enough, but an unusual warm spell in late spring caused it to bolt before it could all be picked. And so I will try again - earlier.

Gardening can be risky business. Plant too early and the seeds may rot in the ground or sprout but grow very little until the weather warms. Plant too late, and cool-weather plants rush straight to blooming and seed-making. There is another package of spinach seeds to go in, as well as one of multicolored chard. The handful of garlic cloves planted last fall wintered over and should do well no matter what.

The little brown Chickaree (or Douglas Squirrel) has been busy indeed, and refuses to be diverted from his mission. Something within him screams “Save! Save! SAVE!” In fall he senses the coming winter; in spring the unsettled weather compels him to scavenge rich, black sunflower seeds that we put out for the birds. He plants them everywhere.

I’m pleased that the green onions made it through winter, as some creatures have been regularly nibbling down their tops. The suspects, two small brush bunnies who have been frequenting our yard, could easily slip under the netting. We don’t mind sharing, and the nibbling seems to have run its course; competition for food is an ancient struggle. Those who don’t plant still must reap.

The Chickaree has no assurance that his seeds will still be there when he needs them, either. For another squirrel (or chipmunk) may dig them up and eat them, the seeds may rot in the ground, sprout and grow, or thoughtless humans may cover them with mothballs so that they aren’t so appealing any more. To protect his assets, the Chickaree’s instinct is to scatter hoard - gather in a good food supply and bury it numerous places, so at least some of it is always available.

With time, warmth, water, weeding, and a bit of luck, the seeds I plant will produce well. And a good many sunflower seeds will also sprout throughout our yard and in most of our large flower pots and boxes. We’ve tried to discourage the Chickaree from the planter on the porch, as we’re not fond of the constant holes dug and dirt strewn far and wide, but so far we’ve not succeeded. He simply won’t give up.

Plant his seeds, he must and to plant mine, I wish. Only time will tell how the harvest goes.

A man reaps what he sows...Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:7, 9 & 10

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