On the Cusp of Spring, So Much to Do

I think spring has finally arrived. Temperatures are hovering in the fifties but signs of spring and new life are popping up every where.  I’ve got my fingers crossed the snow forecast for this weekend won’t cause lasting damage. April is pretty late for us to have snow, it’s only happened four or five times in my lifetime, but we had snow last year at this time too. Is this another sign of the new normal?

With spring comes a long list of things to be accomplished.

I lost one more tree, the almond tree, from last year’s cicada invasion. I had hoped it would survive. Parts of it had died but I counted on the few lower branches that didn’t appear to have sustained major damage to make it, they didn’t.  So now the list of trees to replace has grown. From the one section of the yard only one apple tree made it.  It’s a bit depressing to think both of the money lost and the extra time it will take to have an orchard that provides almost all my fruit and nut needs.

This year was supposed to be the year I put in the rest of the trees for a nominal cost. Instead, I will finish the task but for a larger outlay than I had budgeted for.  The list includes: two almond trees, two more apple trees, two bing cherry trees, a plum tree and an additional peach tree.

Just when I felt defeated by the growing list I spotted flowers on the only surviving trees, a peach and an apricot.  Knowing I should have the first fruit from these two made the list weigh less on my mind.

In addition, this year’s planting list also includes three blueberry bushes, a cranberry bush, replacing and increasing the raspberries and rhubarb plantings.  Room has been set aside for another fifty strawberry plants as well.

Indoors, I started another planting of spinach. This time I invited Little Guy to help. When I asked if he wanted to fill the box with dirt he squealed in excitement then told me he liked dirt. I don’t know a child who doesn’t.  To speed up the process I soaked the seeds in a cup of filtered water while we prepared the box. Little Guy insisted the seeds weren’t spinach but quinoa. That boy loves his quinoa.  Three days later he was able to see the new sprouts.  I thanked him for helping to grow my food and was rewarded with a smile and hug.

I grow lettuces and spinach indoors during the colder months which frees me from needing to purchase greens for salads. Every little bit adds up to reduce my reliance on the grocery stores. I would love to one day find I had no need of stores for my food.

There are still jobs to be completed indoors and as seeds and plants are arriving I’m busy working on finishing up the inside jobs I slacked on during the winter months. Hopefully, they will be completed by the time I move on to the busy time of planting the outdoor beds.




  1. Weather always has a mind of it’s own. I think I lost 2 trees as well. It was colder than usual with more snow than usual. Lots of money down the drain. I will never get to where I can grow all my food. Not enough light inside my house and nowhere to put anything. You always have a long list of things to do but I’m happy you are sharing the chores with the little guy. 🙂 Not sure what I’m going to do outside. Feeling rather lethargic these days. Have an appt in the morning. Maybe she will even bother to check me out? Can’t get up a full head of steam anymore. Can’t be age, can it? 🙂


    • I don’t think I will ever be completely independent from the grocery store as I just don’t have enough land to plant in with needing the space between the beds for my chair and taking into consideration the shaded areas, but I can become independent where fruit is concerned. If I can grow even half my vegetable needs, dry mints and such for tea and all my fruit and add in some nuts (almonds) I’ll be content. There is a farmer’s market about 25 miles from me that I could arrange a ride to supplement my vegetables.

      How was your appointment? Hope you got good news for once. And no it can’t be age. Let’s call it being done with winter, shall we? 🙂

      Little Guy is becoming quite the helper although some days, like today, he can cause more problems. We finished staining the last of the upstairs spaces and while cleaning up he snuck up the stairs with the broom because he wanted to sweep up the “paint”. A quick retouch and washing of the bottom of his feet and things were back on track. Gotta watch just how helpful he wants to be. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We got almost no snow in February and March, but last night we got about 5 inches! We need the moisture so I’m not complaining, but it does seem a bit “off”.

    So sorry about your trees. I’ve heard them say that you should give trees a year or so before assuming they’re dead because they can go dormant after times of stress. Not sure if that rule holds true for newly planted trees or only for well established ones.

    I’m curious about your indoor gardening of lettuce and greens. Do you use grow lights or just put them in a windowsill? I’ve been trying to grow spinach indoors because mine always gets destroyed by leaf miners outside. But if I put them in a window sill Smoky destroys them, so I’m trying grow lights with sort of “meh” results so far. Would love to hear about your technique.


    • We had so little snow this winter that I only had to shovel once in January, once February and once in March. We’ll have to see just how much we get Friday and if I will have that one time shoveling in April. I do hope we don’t get the 5 inches you got that would be considered a major snowfall even in actual winter.

      Nope the trees are truly dead. Barely touching them will break the branches which are completely dry. Looking on the bright side I may have lost 4 fruit bushes and several trees but two survived. That’s something right? See I’m trying to stay positive. 🙂

      I don’t use grow lights. In the past they were so expensive to run that I refused to put out the extra on the electric bill. With the new LED lights I might try them at some point. So far I’ve just set my greens in a sunny window which has worked pretty well most years. A few times I had nothing but leggy sprouts due to too many dreary, and dark days in the winter. Have you considered trying to plant companion plants around the outside of your planters, ones cats dislike? I’ve heard garlic and onions will keep cats out along with a few flowers.


  3. Lois, your post has inspired me to drag out my spinach seeds! It’s finally getting cooler down here so I can start thinking about doing things again – and new plants won’t wilt in the heat (too much). I’ll have to grow the spinach and herbs indoors as outside they get eaten so quickly by assorted bugs. Well done on your planting list – yes it’s a long one but oh how lovely it will be if they all thrive! Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Clare, I’m thrilled I inspired you to pull out your spinach seeds and start a box of them indoors. I’ve been lucky with bugs, with the sole exception of the cicadas last summer. I have had more problems with deer than bugs over the years.

      If you saw how excited I was with the flowers on my two remaining fruit trees then you would be able to guess how over the top I will be if this years plantings survive and thrive.


  4. Hi Lois — I’m glad to read you’re happily at it preparing for spring, although the loss of trees is a downer. We’ve had a mild winter here in the mountains with not much moisture. Now, with the coming of spring we’re beginning to catch up with snow falling. We’ve had about 14 inches in two days and already it’s melting fast.

    I like your idea of growing your greens inside. Sure makes for some fresh salads. Love all the fruit trees you plan in your yard. Wish we could have them here but altitude limits us. Guess no matter where you live, you take the good with not as good. Love and hugs and happy spring planting. 🙂


    • We too had an extremely mild winter. It was nice but frustrating as well when winter temperatures lingered and I wanted spring to hurry up so I could get in the gardens. 🙂

      Be careful with that snow, I hope your spring comes soon for you and yes, there is good and bad no matter where we choose to live.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I forgot you were laid up all last summer. After missing the end of one summer myself the year before last I completely understand how much you are looking forward to getting out this year.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah — got to pace myself, though, Lois. Already stressed it by getting too anxious and doing more than I probably should right out of the gate. It set me back and have to pay closer attention to what my body’s telling me rather than pushing through what I want to do.

            Happy you got through it okay and well on your way on gardening and planning out your summer. 🙂


  5. I am with you all the way Lois.. That Spring is a busy time of year.. For me too.. Wishing you happy days of planting.. that is where you will find me mostly this time of year.. In the garden.. Potatoes were planted, more today… still lots to do.. Lovely blossom picture..
    Sending Huge hugs your way, Love and Hugs xx Sue


    • I haven’t gotten anything in the outdoor beds as of yet, and good thing because while I sat outside today and luxuriated in the warm sun Friday we are expecting snow. We can safely plant everything the second week in May here. Carrots and Peas will go in earlier than that though.

      Don’t overdo it and hurt yourself this year, Sue.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will be careful Lois.. and You too..
        Yes we wait until May.. As it can still snow in April.. but so far its proving milder.. But that is when it can catch you out.. 🙂
        Hugs your way my friend, and so happy I caught your post xx


  6. We have had company so I am behind reading my favorite blogs.
    It’s a shame you lost so many trees and extended the time before you harvest fruit. I hope this growing season is a better one for you. I left behind all my fruit trees when I left Minnesota and am starting over as well. We planted a fig tree, a few raspberry canes, and we have two citrus trees in pots we have been hauling around. The lime and the lemon both have tiny fruit forming! It’s so exciting, but of course I’m not “counting my chickens before they hatch” because they won’t be ripe until November!


    • I know your decision to leave Minnesota had to have been hard, but oh what fun to be able to grow citrus now! I had lemon and tangerine trees well establish in a home in California that was quite the treat for this Northwest PA girl.


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