The first day of spring should be a national holiday. In the South, we women are ready to put up the coats and bring forth the linen cloths in the brightest colors we can find. It marks the “new beginning” of another sleepy year that is waking up from winter. Now I confess I am a winter person so spring for me is the warning season that hot summer is soon approaching. Nevertheless, I love spring. My flowers are beginning to pop up from the ground, and I will be out in the garden soon.
When Neal and I first married, he had a ranch. We decided one spring that we would plant an orchard—yes, an orchard. I had visions of Del Monte and Dole just knocking my door down to get my secrets for magnificent fruit trees. We had apple, apricot, plum, and pear trees. The back to nature attitude was in my blood. We watered, fertilized, and pampered these trees for a whole growing season. We had one apple, but the pear tree put forth a wonderful show of little pears. I discarded the first year fruit so the trees could get established.
By the second spring, I was watching daily for those little tiny blooms and leaves to pop out just knowing the bumper crop was on the way. Again, we pruned, watered, watched, and even talked to those trees, just waiting on the harvest.
The pear tree was the star. It was the star of all the trees—41 pears! I was in heaven. As the months passed and the tree branches were bending under the weight of the pears, I knew harvest time was coming. I pulled out my favorite pear tart recipes, and I was ready.
My sister had come for a visit, and I wanted her to see the orchard, especially the pear tree. As we rounded the corner and the trees were in sight, I couldn’t find my tree. What had happened? Finally as we walked over, I could see the tree with barely any leaves left, much less a pear. My heart sank. Probably there was an overfed deer roaming somewhere and watching with a grin on its face. My tree was ruined.
Oh well, when the shock was over I remember thinking how much work goes into a harvest of fruit and how thankful we are for farmers who make growing fruit their life’s calling. Maybe I will try again sometime to grow pears, but for today I will cherish wonderful trips to the farmers’ markets and farms and thank the wonderful people who tend to the orchards every year. A big thank you from our family to the wonderful farmers who provide us with fruit and vegetables every year. May you have an abundant year as you celebrate spring and planting season.
What signifies Spring to you?