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My doors are standing wide open and the fresh spring air wafts in.  It is perfumed by the abundance of the spring bulbs that have opened over the last few days. Josh and I run onto the deck at each opportunity. He spotted some rabbits this morning near the stream at the bottom of the garden. It drove him crazy! Poor chap, he would love to sink his teeth into them. He stands and quivers in anticipation, as he peers through the railings. But not on my watch, he won’t!  Meanwhile Peter and his mates bob about unhindered and enthusiastically sample all the new shoots. As long as they restrict their endeavors to the wild plants and don’t develop an interest in the nursery bought ones. We should be safe as the forest holds all sorts of delectables to lure them away. Wild snow drops seem to be the firm favourite and distract the nibblers from my ‘planted bounty.’

The sun is warm……I had almost forgotten what that feels like. Josh lies tummy-up and ‘bene in die lug.’ He is broken out of his soporific state  with the rabbit exploits. After he has reclaimed his turf he returns to the horizontal position again. We both love it! I bask as well but not in the ‘bene in die lug’ position. I prefer my feet up onto the deck railings. If I position myself to one side I can I stare over at the emerging foliage down in our ‘little forest.’

 

Josh laps up the Canadian sun.

Josh laps up the Canadian sun!

 

All this beauty comes at a price though, as I found out when I began the ‘spring cleanup.’ Every muscle and bone in my body ached! The cold winter had left its traces behind and we raked, collected and piled. Oh I so missed the help that I had back in South Africa! It was back breaking! Bend, stretch and bend again! Eina! Fortunately the whole family climbed on board and in no time the drudgery of the clean up was over. Now I am left to survey our wonderwork from the deck. I luxuriate in my short reprieve. This is my favourite part! At least the muscles and bones are given a break for a few weeks. Locals insist that no planting can happen before the weekend of 24 May. So I have to accept the local knowledge and restrain myself. All I want to do is get out there and plant my summer colour.

 

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But instead I sit and stare and enjoy the arrival of spring. I fill my head with thoughts of summer……. salads, cool drinks, sandals and open top cars. The warmth draws visits from family and friends too.

Oh role on SUMMER!

 

Sun in the face and wind in the hair!

Sun in the face and wind in the hair!

 

 

 

 

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(This song was written by George while he was sitting in Eric Clapton’s garden after a very long English winter)

Cheers to spring!

 “Little darling, the smiles are returning to the Canadian faces. Here comes the sun. It feels like years since it has been here. Sun…sun here it comes…..”

Cottage Country is being opened up so that ‘gone fishing’ can become a weekend activity once more. Sport cars are relieved of their grey winter covers and skylights are slid open. Bikini’s are pulled from the back of cupboards and summer outfit shopping is in full force. The black and drab- grey garb of winter is pushed to one side. Pinks, yellows and even a touch of orange will soon be the prominent colours on the streets and the nautical and ‘preppy boy’ look is all the rage. Oh to just wear my white shorts again!

Spring fever has hit our street. We have all come out of hiding and I see new faces each day. The ‘snowbirds’ have returned from their escape down to Florida and are hurriedly catching up with ‘the opening up’ process. We scurry about and tend our gardens. We rake, trim, bundle and feed our urban sanctuaries. Local knowledge is shared over the garden fence and the best compost, topsoil and fertilizer is discussed. Garden catalogues are poured over with the brightly coloured flower selections. It is to be our first spring garden in the northern hemisphere and the lack of knowledge of the local flora and fauna is quite a challenge. Local gardening magazines are a great help as I scour the pages for plants that will survive zone 5 type weather.

I assure myself that the characteristics that are required for plants to survive in the African sun or the harsh Canadian winter are similar. They both require the resilience to survive in harsh weather conditions. Although the plants in Africa have to contend with prolonged heat and not enough water, while the Canadian ones have all the water in the world and very few months of continuous sun!
Water, water……everywhere….. and I remind myself that I don’t have to run a tiny bath anymore!

Inside the house the spring cleaning process is in full swing. I am slowly learning the intricacies of keeping house in the northern hemisphere.  Here house mites need to be kept at bay. All mattresses need to be vacuumed regularly.  I smile to myself as I reflect on how the pattern of my day has changed. I used to fill my head with ideas on how to challenge my pupils and now I ponder the life cycle of a house mite in a Canadian household. Both challenges….just different fields!

The beers are on ice and I have a few good bottles of merlot in the store to savour on the deck on those long summer evenings.

“We made it! It has been a long and lonely, cold winter. And I say…..It’s all right.”

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