The first day of spring has come and gone. Spring sprung at 7:02 a.m. March 20. Didn't notice much difference at 7:03.
If you have the craving for garden greens, the pea sprouts and sunflower sprouts at The Local Hub will fit the bill. I discovered these sprouts last week. The Bartletts, owners of the store, grow the sprouts from seeds and then harvest them when they are a couple inches tall. The sprouts have the mild flavor of peas and sunflowers. It's like eating fresh peas in March. The sprouts are those green plants you see growing in their store-front windows.
And, to continue with cravings, if you want your own home-grown fish from your own pond, there are workshops on farm pond construction and trout stocking this Saturday in South Paris and sponsored by the Oxford County Extension Office. To register for one or both of these workshops, call the Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District at 743-5789, ext. 111. They are also taking orders at the same phone number for delivery of rainbow, brown or brook trout to private ponds.
Maine Maple Sunday is this Sunday (March 24). You won't have to travel far to partake of this event.
Here in Greenwood the Dunham Farm, off Rowe Hill Road, will be serving pancakes from 8-11 a.m. and the sugar house will be open until 3 p.m. There will be many other treats available besides pancakes. If you are inclined to do a drive-around tour of maple syrup producers, you can find the locations of other participants in Maine Maple Sunday online at www.mainemapleproducers.com.
The pussy willows are open now, and, with that, there is no turning back. Full speed ahead to when the colors of leaves and flowers return. Granted full speed in western Maine is a snail's pace!
Pussy willows are the first stage of the male flower of willows. Willows produce both male and female flowers. There are many species of willow, and our local version is the American pussy willow (Salix discolor). While locally we think of them as that very welcome first sign of spring, pussy willows are used in both Europe and America as decoration for Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) and in China as an integral part of Chinese New Year (varying yearly between late January and early February).
Very locally, as in my home, pussy willows represent the first flower bouquet the cats can destroy. I picked a few branches of pussy willows last week, and it was less than an hour before the two cats had decimated the bouquet and were pulling the buds off the branches. Oh well, we all have our spring rituals. Even the cats.
And if you need more to convince yourself spring is here, Greenwood property taxes are due April 1 and interest begins to accrue May 1. Not quite what I had in mind for spring either.
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