Saturday, February 9:
The snow in the yard is thawing today and in places the green grass is poking through. The paths, where we have trampled the snow down solid going to and from the barn, are slick with rotting ice and slush, and in the wheel ruts in the lane snowmelt runs muddy and yellow under a layer of ice. Very soon we will have to put the taps in our maple trees; so today we unearthed the bag of spiles and the coffee can of bucket hooks from their bin in the basement. The girls got into the back of the shed and pulled out all the sap buckets. The sun was already down behind the south hill but they took the buckets out on the porch and washed them with hot soapy water that cooled too quickly; when they came in at last for chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes their hands were wrinkled and pink, and very chilly.
The greenhouse, crowded with things people had put in there to be out of the way last summer, had to be sorted and cleaned as well. Cracked buckets went into the recycle pile; broken clay pots were discarded, and plastic pots grown brittle from a year in the hot greenhouse were thrown away. The shop lights which will provide an extra few hours of energy to the tomato seedlings were raised as high on their chains as they would go, out of the way of the heads of whomever will be starting seeds in there this spring. All the seeds left over from last year have been tested for germination (see our garden page for instructions), so we can begin sowing those tomatoes and peppers almost immediately.
The new Blue Heeler pup is forbidden the basement so we shush him when he is down there and Papa pretends not to hear.