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Green Hills

Reconnecting to Nature

One of my favorite parts of gardening, landscaping and growing our own food is reconnecting to our surroundings and to nature, even in an urban environment. How often I hear folks around me grumble and complain about rain, on a day when we finally have some after days or a week or two of none. It's probably a fairly normal thought process if you don't have a reminder here and there that life without rain would be pretty difficult to impossible. Appreciate it!

But being connected to your surroundings isn't just about rain, or cold, or hot. It's about everything. From a feeling of relief when the heat of summer dissipates and the cool breezes of fall show up to the thawing of winter and knowing that the first blooms of spring are just around the corner. It's waiting day after day as green tomatoes slowly, painstakingly slowly, begin to ripen. It's the happy acceptance of a couple days of rain to quench the thirst of a dry yard and garden. It's the ability to notice minor variances in the environment every day that many don't because they run in and out of conditioned buildings trying to avoid being hot or cold or wet or anything "inconvenient".

This past winter in Charlotte was a bit abnormal. Not completely unlike others I've lived through from time to time in the past, but the cold extended out a bit longer than normal, showed up a bit earlier than normal, and was deeper and more consistent for a few weeks in January and February than we've seen in recent years. This was frustrating for us not only because we had hoped for a better cold season harvest in our new home and garden (we moved here in Spring 2013), but also because we were trying some new techniques in the raised beds and learning how to utilize a greenhouse for the first time ever.

This particular year we really needed a good and early start to spring planting: we were a featured garden for the Charlotte Garden Club's annual Mint Museum Garden Tour which was April 26th and 27th. We were approached by them in the fall for this even - to be their first ever vegetable garden - they were founded in 1924. We didn't want to disappoint with beds of soil and seedlings with no growth - or worse, nothing but withering winter crops on their last legs.

Everything worked out and we had a couple good solid weeks to work on the garden before the tour. We got a good early start on late spring and summer plants and we are well on our way to the height of summer plants - ours have been taking off over the past two weeks with decent consistent rain and lots of sun.

I love being connected to the outdoors, to our yard and to the weather. It can be frustrating for sure and watching the weather can either bring excitement or dread. But for me, and for Joey, we wouldn't want it any other way. I'm glad I care, I'm glad I notice and enjoy the changes. I wake up early with excitement every morning - ready for a run so I can get my blood pumping before it's too hot, grab a cup of coffee and carefully water our garden - looking at every bed and every plant while doing so and watching their progress. I look forward to each season as it approaches, having enjoyed the best and worst of the season that is edging away.

Now off for an afternoon stroll in the garden as the afternoon shadows cool off the backyard - can't wait to see what's popped up, it's been a beautiful sunny spring day!

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