My witch hazel has finally bloomed. Some years it blooms as early as January but before this year it has always bloomed in February. It needs several sunny days above freezing and we never had that this year in February even though that is normal. It is always exciting to look forward to its blooming because it marks the beginning of a new horticultural year, and most years it is a spirit lifter in the dead of winter. Fragrant too.

The other thing that didn’t happen in February was any tree pruning. In the past, energy permitting, I have gone out in February and done fruit tree pruning but with all the snow, that would have been difficult this year, and my macho younger self that may have bulled through it anyway is but a distant memory.

It is still time in March to prune but best to get it done before trees break dormancy and we are now having a string of well above average temperature days where you can almost see the snow melting in front of your eyes and if this continues it will be a narrow window to prune in.

This is complicated by my physical limitations where I only have a little energy and don’t really accomplish all that much in a given day. There is practically unlimited trees to prune around NV given that restriction. If anyone is interested in doing some pruning let me know and we can go out and do some.

I have also made commitments to individuals to help them, besides the trees I have myself. Once April arrives so will a lot of trees, berries, and fragrant perennials so even if the weather turns cold again, I won’t have time for pruning.

I have some odd jobs to do around the garden to make life simpler when the season hits, so I have been getting out in the good weather and getting some stuff done.

Today I am going to strip some old rotting mesh wire off a still good frame that is no longer useful in its current condition. It is like a low table we have put plants on while waiting to transplant them, something I recycled from I can’t remember where. Unfortunately it has about a zillion staples on it so it will take some time, but once the wire is removed I am going to reinforce the frame and use it as a portable cold frame, just throwing some plastic, old windows or floating row cover over it to bring some greens on early and then as a season extender in the fall.

I also have received some 2 oz. and some .55 oz floating row cover I can use for the same purpose without a frame but cold frames are nice.

One thing about having a garden is there is always something to do.

“Prabhupada: And the bulls are being killed. Why they should be killed? Engage them in tilling the field. They will have occupation. And the man also will have occupation. There is immense land. So there will be no question of unemployment. And the machine, it works hundreds of men’s labor and hundreds of men become unemployed. So unemployed means devil’s workshop.”

Room Conversation with Scientists — July 2, 1974, Melbourne