TRR photos by Kristin Barron

Trailing arbutus

Thanksgiving in May

(and other spring pursuits from the home front)

One of the lesser valued pursuits of spring is the annual cleaning out of the freezer.

This job clears the way for ice pops and ice cream during the summer months. And it is how it has come to be that I am roasting a turkey on this fine, mild spring day.

I’ve been putting if off for months, but now that the bird is unthawed—I am committed. It is a job that must be done before the onslaught of summer heat sets in, making any use of the oven unthinkable.

So the time has come for roasting the 12-pound turkey I received from my employer, Delaware Valley Job Corps, at Christmas time. I don’t want it hanging around for another six months, at which time I will probably be picking up another cherry pie (long since eaten) and a turkey, or ham. I like the old-fashioned company give-away of holiday hams and pies, although I think I’d rather have a pay raise.

So, as I am writing this column this early morning, the Thanksgiving smells of sage, thyme and roasting meat are wafting through the house. I hope to have it done before the day heats up.

As far as more traditional spring preparations, I have put away the scarves, the mittens and woolen hats. I am still holding out on our winter coats but soon, with enough sunny days, I will pack them away too.

We had to buy a new grill since our last one rusted through during the winter and refused to light when I attempted my first barbeque. Assembling the new grill was frustrating to the point of destructive anger, but it is finally up now, gleaming and clean.

In the true custom of spring, I have been sitting on my porch, watching the field out front turn from brown to vivid green. I saw the red buds of the maple trees on the distant hills give way to a faint green. And, I have been taking a lot of walks to see the new flowers and plants.

I was told of a patch of trailing arbutus (Epigaearepens) growing in Long Eddy, NY, and drove down to find it along the road bank. One of our rarer plants, trailing arbutus is a low, spreading shrub of the heath family. The fragrant plant has lovely pink flowers and leathery leaves. It is protected in New York and in Massachusetts, where it is the state flower. Also called “mayflower,” the plant is said to be the first flower the Pilgrims saw after their grueling first winter in America, according to plant folklore. It is a plant I had not seen in years and finding it has been a highlight of the new season for me.

As we eat our May Thanksgiving feast, we will remember that we have a lot to be thankful for this spring. Above all we are glad that winter is over. Happy spring to all.


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