I’m crabby. Yes. I said it. I’m really crabby. I know! It’s ironic.
I’m the life coach that teaches people to be happy. I teach about love and appreciation. I’m being honest. I’m human, and I’m crabby.
This winter was a long one – for me. We had some hard times this winter and a heart-breaking event. There was that spell in February where the temperature was negative-below-stupid for a while. We took a short trip to Southern California. Cold. In March, we went to Las Vegas hoping for some warmth. Guess what? Cold. At least there wasn’t snow and ice.
Now April is upon us, and we can look forward to brown, silty mud, gravel everywhere and trash.
I moved to Anchorage in December 1996, and it was quite a snow year. There were huge piles of snow stacked in parking lots and on corners. I learned my way around town by snow mound landmarks, and everything was white or some shade of bluish gray. When April came, and the snow melted, I had to learn all new landmarks for getting around. I actually got lost in midtown that April, 21 years ago and I certainly wasn’t prepared for how dirty everything got. The trash on the streets, along the roadways and on the grass, was out of control. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dog doo scattered along the trails and walkways. I have a secret to share with you. Breakup is not my favorite.
Well, I don’t disparage breakup so much anymore.
Over the years, I learned to look for signs of summer’s arrival to help make it through breakup. The snow melted early on the south-facing side of our home in east Anchorage, and the grass would start growing thick and green on that side of the house. Year after year, I looked forward to seeing the neighborhood moose come to munch on that bit of grass. I think the cows taught their calves to know that grass was going to be there each spring.
When we lived in Dillingham, we had a farm and a big market garden with three greenhouses. Just after the first of the year, the seed catalogs would begin arriving in the mail. Bill and I would spend hours studying the pages, seeing what new varieties were available, and try to figure out what was going to grow in Dillingham. I called the Alaska Cooperative Extension many times when we lived in Dillingham trying to get advice on gardening and farming in Bristol Bay. There really wasn’t much information available. I knew we could grow potatoes, rhubarb, and raspberries. They sent pamphlets on gardening on the Kenai. Dillingham is nothing like the Kenai Peninsula.
I called the Extension once about raising turkeys.
The man I was talking to laughed at me – a good-hearted laugh. He wished me luck and told me there wasn’t any information from anywhere on raising turkeys in Southwestern Alaska. Raising chickens in the Valley, that he could help me with. We were real pioneers in poultry farming, evidently. Bill and I went on to raise turkeys, ducks, chickens, and geese in Dillingham for years. Our place where we lived out there is probably still called the Chicken Farm.
After we ordered all our seeds, we’d eagerly wait for them to arrive so we could get the starts started. We had tables with grow lights hung over them for planting the seeds, growing the seedlings and young plants. We would get the tables out of storage and set them up in the neighbor’s heated garage. We had our ProMix soil shipped from Anchorage, and we were ready.
The best part of planting is the smell of wet soil.
I love the earthy smell of the soil, especially when the ground is frozen and covered in snow outside. You know, it’s really a leap of faith to grow plants from seed. For us, planting seeds in the deep of winter, tomatoes, for example, get started in January, is having faith that summer will soon be here, the snow will melt, the ground will warm up, and the world will turn green.
I don’t garden like I used to since we moved to Eagle River. We do have some perennials in our yard. Growing perennials is an act of faith as well. I’m not certain of the microclimate we have in our yard, and it’s a happy surprise when things make it through the winter. We go out back daily as the snow melts, and the ground warms and dries, looking for our little perennial sprouts. I love babies, even little green growing plant babies.
One of my favorite things about spring in Anchorage is watching for the flower fairies.
That’s what I call the armies of gardeners that fill the city’s flower beds. When you drive up DeBarr heading toward Russian Jack Park, look for plants in the flower bed there on the right at Lidia Skelkregg Lane. That’s the first bed the flower fairies fill.
This month I’ll be watching for green growing things, the seagulls to return to the Walmart parking lot, and I’ll pick up trash and dog doo. I might even plant some flower seeds. I’m looking for summer. I have faith the robins will be here soon singing at ten o’clock at night. I have faith the swallows will be here soon after that. I’m not crabby anymore.
Elizabeth Pearch is a Master Instructor and Certified Professional Weight Loss and Life Coach. To reach Elizabeth, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.