LESLIE CRISS: Spring fever deepens desire to dig in dirt

“Spring is nature’s way of saying,
‘Let’s party!’”
– Robin Williams

“April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.”
– Christopher Morley

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
– Margaret Atwood

I am suffering from some serious symptoms that signify a single diagnosis: spring fever. Forget about all the sneezing and snorting from the pollen.
I’m just feeling a need to get my hands in the dirt and plant some stuff.
In the past few weeks, every time I pass any place that sells plants, I have had to force myself not to stop. It has not been easy.
What has stopped me?
My late grandfather’s fervent belief in The Old Farmer’s Almanac. If you read it in the Almanac, it must be true.
When I read early this year that we here in the South would have a harsh winter with more snow than usual, I rolled my eyes in utter disbelief. And guess what? It was the best winter of my entire life because snow fell in glorious amounts more than once.
Now someone’s told me the Almanac has predicted a frost as late as April for the sometimes-sunny South. Will it happen? I haven’t a clue.
But I don’t want to spend money on lovely things to plant only to have them freeze to death at some point in the coming days.
I will practice patience for a while longer. Then I’m going to dig and plant until my heart is content.

n n n

When I lived in Vicksburg, I had a huge flower bed in front of my Pepto-Bismol-pink house, and each spring I tried to plant something different.
One year I bought a large package of seeds – A Child’s First Garden. Talk about a mixed bag.
I sowed the seeds and waited to see what would grow.
It was amazing. There were all sorts of flowers – a virtual rainbow of color.
Then I noticed a tomato plant, a corn stalk and various other vegetables.
I called it my surprise garden, and it was the talk of the neighborhood.
The next year I chose strawberry plants. They are pretty and if my crop was a success, I’d have home-grown berries to eat.
When the plants began to grow, I started noticing slimy trails all around the bed. Snails were after my strawberries.
A friend told me to put jar lids of beer at each end of the bed – snails would be attracted to the beer, drink and drown. Who knew snails were sots?
I put out the beer each evening and the next morning the bodies of a band of slugs would be floating in the suds. And I was happy.
Each day during my lunch hour, I’d check on the progress of the strawberries and noted with pride that, surely by the next morning, I’d be able to pick a few for my cereal.
The next morning, the mature berries would be gone.
No snail trails. So I was puzzled.
Until I walked out my front door one early morning just in time to see my beloved four-legged friend Maizie, standing in the middle of the strawberry bed.
Licking her lips.

Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@journalinc.com or (662) 678-1584.

Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal