Spring is without a doubt my favorite season of the year. I love watching the earth come back to life as the snow finally melts away and the grass begins to get green again. I don’t think that there is a more amazing green than when the trees are budding out and the grass is growing again.
This year, I never thought it would happen.
To a Georgia girl now living in Maine – this was the worst Winter I have ever experienced. Nearly 7 months of snow on the ground and the coldest temperatures for the longest stretch of time that I have ever seen nearly drove me batty. I was one snowstorm away from loading up my car and driving South until I didn’t see snow anymore.
It did make me feel a little better in knowing that my friends who are from Maine were getting pretty sick of it, too.
The Spring weather in “The County” has still been fairly cool and quite rainy – but it hasn’t stopped me from getting back out into our yard and digging around in the flower beds.
I love gardening. I love mulching and digging and planting and watching things grow. It is the one place where I am at peace.
One of the first things that I always do in my flower beds in early Spring is pull out all of the dead things from the year before and mulch. I noticed early on that there were some green sprouts coming up in my perennial beds – and they weren’t flowers. They were weeds. And grass. And I wanted them GONE.
I’m not sure what most people do when they need to rid their yard of unwanted weeds. I’ve never hired a landscape artist to work on my yard and I’ve never just run down to Wal-Mart to grab a bottle of weed killer. I always call an expert. I call my dad.
My dad is a small business owner in Georgia. He owns a feed and seed store that has been in operation in our family since 1946. If you need to know anything about herbicides, pesticides, what to plant, where to plant it, what to feed it, when to feed it, where it won’t grow, why it won’t grow – he is the man for the job. And trust me, this man knows his stuff.
I asked him what I could use on the grass that was popping up in my flower bed – that wouldn’t kill the flowers – and he went into vivid chemical detail and explained exactly what I needed to do.
My first stop – the local feed and seed store. My goal was to find a certain type of grass killer, recommended by my dad. And I did.
But I wasn’t prepared for what else I would find while I was there.
I didn’t expect to be flooded with memories of my childhood in middle Georgia, just by experiencing the smells and sounds of this feed and seed store way up here in northern Maine.
As you might expect, I grew up “in the business”. I spent many days as a young girl “helping out” with my brother at the seed store. We grew up chasing each other through the aisles of the store and climbing on top of the stacks of seed and jumping from stack to stack. My first job was in my dad’s store waiting on customers and mailing price lists.
Spring is like Christmas time in the seed business. People are planting and fertilizing and growing and feeding and nourishing their farms and gardens and animals. We didn’t sell seed in the nicely organized and branded little packets that you see in the box stores. We sold seed measured by the scoop and scale and sent home in small brown paper sacks with the contents written on the outside with a marker.
When I walked into the local seed store the other day, I was hit with the familiar smell of soil, mulch, garden chemicals, new flowers and veggie plants, and manure.
Yes, even the smell of manure makes me think of home.
When I was younger and helping out in my dad’s store, I once complained about the smell of manure. He chuckled and said it was a great smell. It smelled like money.
So I took a little time and strolled through this feed and seed store in Maine. I listened to the employees help their customers. I noticed the seasonal items for sale scribbled on their chalkboard. I saw a lady buying some baby chicks and then took one more glance over the greenhouse – teeming with plants and life.
I purchased the item that I came for in the first place, and left feeling like I had visited an old friend.
And I can’t wait to go back.