© R. L. Whitney. Originally published May 8, 1990
Everywhere we turn these days the evidence that something momentous stirs confronts us, and the pace of change leaves us wondering. Our tiny corner of the great world renews itself before our eyes and yet we never quite succeed in catching nature in the act.
We went to bed one night a while back, looking at a world still inclined to browns and grays. Sure, the lilac buds were big enough to see from the dining room, but the change did not amount to a revolution - a swelling, not a bursting.
The next morning, the lilacs were apparently unchanged. When I walked out on my way to the barn, though, the big poplar trees by the front of the house were entirely hung with their caterpillar-like flower clusters.
How had all those flowers got there? In a good deal less than ten hours those trees had decided that the time had come to bloom, and had manufactured out of nothing the whole apparatus. Who says trees are very slow of study?
© R. L. Whitney. Originally published on 13 May, 1987
We are in that "in-between" season right now when it is too early to do much to the garden but the seed orders are in and there is really no reason to go through the catalogues another time, although I got a seed catalogue from a company down in South Carolina a few weeks back that has me thinking disloyal thoughts about our puritanical climate.
My wife, more given to action than to words, seized a garden fork and a rake the other weekend and produced a raised bed within minutes. It was obviously the work of one who was tired of waiting for 40 growing degree days (GDD) to arrive with some sort of regularity.
If I remember the drill correctly (I forget it after the growing season is over in the Fall and always have to go look it up in the Spring but at the moment I can't find the book that purveys the needed wisdom), you take the high and low for the day, subtract 40 from each and the result is the number of growing-degree days to base 40. Yesterday's high here was 57 and the low was 29. Plus 17 and minus 11 works out to plus six GDD yesterday. Don't ask me what it was in Celsius. (Alternatively, you could add high and low together and subtract 80 to get the same result. Why didn't I think of that before?)
Originally published January 27, 2015
© R. L. Whitney
Our morning and evening trips to the barn to milk the cow began at the same time that our older children began their new school experience by riding the bus.
We had stayed on the farm for the summer the year before, but this fall we were looking forward to a whole year’s experience. During that first summer we had fixed up a pen at the back of the old chicken house and bought a small flock of Rhode Island Red chickens from the Co-op sale barn, our first exploration into the animal world aside from various dogs and cats and tropical fish.
The chickens fascinated us. We used to go up to the pen from time to time just to watch the biddies as they went about the business of their busy lives. At the end of that summer, since we could not take them back to Toronto with us, we gave them to our friends whose move from Ontario to the farm on the Parleeville Road had sparked our own move down here.
Words & Images
We moved to our farm in Sussex, New Brunswick from Toronto in 1977, only moving away in 2014.