Ah, spring! That wonderful time of year when the days get longer, in part because of the season and in part because the sound of the birds outside your window wakes you up at 5:30 every morning. As you lie there, reflect on the wonders of nature and the therapeutic, relaxing effect of birdsong, before muttering a curse and stumbling out of bed, wondering yet again if there isn’t some way to get rid of those [expletive deleted] Eurasian collared doves.
If you are a gardener, this is the best time of the year, full of the promise of the bounty to come. Think of this as you search for your hand tools and secateurs, and only find a rusty garden fork with one tine bent at a 45-degree angle. You will also discover that what you thought was an unopened bag of potting soil is actually bark chips, one of your wooden planters has rotted through at the base (something you only find out when you have filled it full of soil and then attempt to pick it up), your foam kneeling pad has been attacked by pack rats looking for nesting material, and a small creature of unknown provenance has died in one of your watering cans.
Those with underground water systems will be turning those systems on now, and discovering a previously unsuspected crack in an exterior pipe. No sooner is that fixed and the system fully engaged than another leak appears, this one apparently deep underground. This might be the ideal time to consider installing that water feature you have always wanted, since digging will be required anyway. Alternatively, you can take a more “back to nature”approach, let the leaking pipe do its thing, and tell neighbours you are cultivating a swamp.
The kids will be outside enjoying the lovely weather, so better get that badminton net set up! When you have finally finished wrestling the net out of the shed, where it has nested and apparently grown all winter, you find that it has brought with it a pair of secateurs, two pristine garden trowels, a bicycle bell, a broken Nerf gun, and what appears to be a croquet hoop, even though you have never owned a croquet set.
When you attempt to pound in the poles that suspend the net, you will either choose patches of ground that appear to be made of concrete or a spot directly over one of the underground watering lines. In the latter case, congratulations! You now have the option of a second water feature, or a slightly larger swamp.
After you have spent several minutes disengaging everything from the badminton net and setting it up, you realize that it is in fact a fishing net.
Remember that bears like barbecues too, and give that barbecue of yours a good clean. Make sure to remove the grease tray and empty it out, or replace it with a new one. Discover too late that the tray is fuller and heavier than it looked, and end up spilling half the contents on the deck, where it soaks into the wood. Spend 10 minutes scrubbing the spot to try to remove the odour and stain, realize that you have only succeeded in removing a large section of paint, and cover the spot with a planter instead.
Garden furniture is an attractive addition to any back yard. Bring yours out of storage in the shed and get it set up for all to enjoy, once you have cleared the cobwebs and what appears to be a small nest out of the patio umbrella. Get one of your children to test each of the deck chairs to make sure the seats have not rotted through over the winter. Reassured, sink into one of the chairs and remember too late that an adult human weighs more than a child.
Ah, spring! Watch the sun sink low in the sky and admire the beauty as the moon and stars come out to play. But don’t admire them for too long; 5:30 a.m. will be here before you know it.