A particularly long and cruel winter is finally fading as spring announces itself at the five acres in northeastern Minnesota I call home. One of the great pleasures this time of year is the renewing of a morning tradition: I take my coffee outside and inspect the gardens and surrounding woods for signs of activity – crocus, tulips and chionodoxa; phlox and forget-me-nots showing green under the tree lilac; buds swelling on the forsythia, roses and lilacs. Every day, there is something new.
Meanwhile, the silly dog secures the perimeter of the yard, checking the ground for the scent of creatures that passed through during the night. But the reverie can't last. There are perennials to cut back, vegetables and annual flowers to sow inside and new beds to dig as the ground dries out. Time to move on.