April is the cruelest month. But seriously. How do I know spring has finally arrived? Well, there are a few key indicators:
1) Allergy season has officially started.
I swear I never had seasonal allergies until I moved to DC back in 1995. I actually used to wonder why there were so many commercials on TV -- yes, this is back when I watched TV -- about allergy medication. "Pollen?" I thought to myself. "Bah. Leaf mold? Pshaw. What a bunch of whiners. How bad can a few sniffles be?" Justice has been served: I have not smelled properly, tasted fully, slept soundly, or breathed freely since Tuesday afternoon.
2) People are asking me to help them with their gardens.
Mike and I had a great planning session last week, mapping out the timing and location for transplanting for his little urban homestead up 14th Street. I spent much of yesterday at mom and dad's house hauling wooden planks, dirt, and compost up and down the black diamond slope that is their back yard with my brother. Mom is now the proud caretaker of 2 lovely 4'x4' raised beds plus a makeshift planter in the form of a wheelbarrow that needed to be, um, repurposed into something... useful. I cautioned her that we may not yet be past danger of frost, so, readers, don't go transplanting your little seedlings out in the yard just yet. I'd wait until the first week of May. I keep waiting for my next door neighbor, Henry, to call me up to get to building the raised bed in his back yard. Any day now.
3) I saw asparagus at the farmers' market this morning.
Dad was standing right there next to me -- our first trip together to the Dupont market! -- so I purchased a small bunch for each of us. Beautiful, no?
He wasn't nearly as giddy as I was, but then he isn't as fanatical about eating seasonally as I am (and thus less sick of apples and sweet potatoes these days: I can't wait for berries, peaches, and plums again). TGFA. (Thank God For Asparagus.)
4) The weather is insane.
I'm sorry, did the weatherman say it was going to get up to 70 today? It was darn cold at the market this morning and there I was without a proper coat. I'd bet my garlic it wasn't more than 50 degrees by 11am. Curses. The manic-depressive nature of springtime weather has caused me to reschedule my plans for a test run of next weekend's urban farm bike tour. Maybe tomorrow, when hopefully the weather after work is as predicted: 80 and sunny. We shall see. Meanwhile, time to pop another (semi-useless) decongestant....