Wendy Johnston, Appalachian South Folklife Center
For most folks, my Daddy included, the hardest part of the year is the short,dreary, cold days between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The days when there is more dark than light and the chill of the air stays with you all day. But, for me, the hardest days come after the first day of Spring. The time when the sun tempts us with hints of warmth and then disappears again to be replaced by more dreary clouds and freezing winds. The time when you have seedlings in the house or greenhouse and you want like crazy to place their small bodies in the garden outside that doesn’t even exist yet because just when you think it is dry enough to plow or till, it sets into a cold drizzling rain that may or may not cause things to freeze up by morning.
For me personally the real problem starts in mid-April when things start to bloom out. I have struggled with allergy problems my entire life that seem to become more severe with each passing year. The worst time for me is right before time to set plants out. This also coincides with the time I most want to get my hands in the dirt, planting sees and getting the ground ready to receive those little plants that I started in the dreary days of February or early March. The frustration of unpredictable weather combined with severe allergy symptoms and the fact that I am literally confined to the house is almost more than I can stand. That I feel out of sorts is an understatement. This particular year is also the first time I haven’t been working a full-time job outside the home in quite a while, so therefore I have more time to ponder over what I am not getting done. This year’s allergies have resulted in a lung infection that has had me down for about 3 weeks.
Finally, the temperatures are up to the 70’s during the day and 50’s at night. My soil is warming up and getting ready to welcome seeds and plants. This makes things even harder, weeds are growing and my tomatoes need transplanted into the hoop house. Just be patient I hear whispering in the wind, it will be time soon………