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It is February and I just found this in my yard.

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Our maple has been budding since late February.

Spring is here. Technically spring isn’t here for 15 more days, but tell that to the two dozen robins, jays and other assorted birds in my back yard this afternoon. According to them–and the bulbs coming up in our flower beds, and the budding trees, and my allergies–it is spring.

There was a dandelion in the front yard but I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of it.

Since it’s spring, last night I ordered seeds from Burpee for our vegetable and flower gardens. Last year, Lauren and I planted herbs and a few vegetables in three beds we built and attached to our deck, and in the fall we doubled our garden size with the addition of another box, so we’re pretty excited about our gardening prospects this year. Since we did so well with tomatoes and zucchini last year, we decided to go that route again, but with different types. This year we’re growing Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomatoes, Yellow Pears, Big Mama (supposedly good for making sauce) and Super Sweet 100s. I don’t eat tomatoes (or olives or meat cooked in a ball or loaf–don’t ask, it gets complicated), but Lauren does and I love to be able to give our excess veggies to friends and neighbors, so we’re going nuts with the tomatoes. We’re also growing cucumber, zucchini and a yellow bell pepper. We’ll have the usual culinary herbs–basil, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary–and maybe some unusual ones. In the fall we’ll plant lettuce, chard and maybe a late squash or two.

The problem with gardening is this:

I know she and the squirrels will try to eat all of our seeds and seedlings.

I just know that the birds and squirrels will dig in the gardens and try to eat our seeds and seedlings. And I know that our cat, who stands guard in one of the open windows that look out onto the back yard, doesn’t scare them. Sure, she chitters and growls and sometimes lunges at the window screens, but the birds and squirrels just sort of look at her with pity. Since the cat won’t keep the seed-eaters at bay, I’ll have to cover the beds with something for a while.

I’ll write more about the gardens as we plant our vegetables, herbs and flowers (I forgot to tell you about the flowers, more on them later, I guess). We installed two rain barrels last year and I’m excited to go through summer with them, I think they’ll have a good impact on our municipal water consumption and I’m anxious to see just how they affect our bill.

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