My green thumbs started itching about a month ago. My hands had the urge to get back out to the dirt, and grow. The dirt wasn’t quite ready. The snow hadn’t receded enough yet. I tried to dig into the ground with my spade, but the permafrost was still there.
My gaze fell to the neglected Saskatoon bushes that stood about 9’ tall. After consulting with a few Albertan horticulturists as I know next to nothing about Saskatoon upkeep, I realized this was the perfect time to prune them before they started flowering again. When they were in the dormant stage, and hadn’t started throwing out new buds and branches for spring. I hacked away that these bushes, taking out more than twoonie sized branches with a few grunts. I snipped out dead pieces of branches easily. The branches were interwoven. Some of them hung tightly to each other, efficiently choking the other piece out. I pushed them apart and took one out. I cut out small suckers from the bottom of the plant. I pruned away the height to make those juicy berries more reachable.
The first time around, I was pretty conservative with my snips. I took branches out carefully. The second time, the zen of the moment must have gotten to me. I listened to the creek running, my children playing and I was more aggressive. When I finally topped snipping, not much remained, just the essential of the plant, and the room for regrowth. I’m still not sure what will happen, if the plant will rebound, or if I will be planting a new bush there soon. (My horticultural friends assure me the bushes are pretty much bomb proof, but we will see).
Making Space for Growth
A week later, I’m still thinking about that pruning. Spring is a time for rebirth, renewal. All the green things come back alive, pop into actions and start growing again. With the sunshine showing up for longer days, we start to think towards campfires, growing food, and adventures. Last year, we made a big change when we stepped off the curb and went from being a small-town dwelling family to a farm family. The implications of that haven’t all caught up to us a year late, but we started shedding the old and started on the new. We had to allow space for the growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.
For me, the tough part has been to begin anywhere. I want to start with a plan, an outcome, a goal. This isn’t always possible on the farm – it’s a marathon not a sprint. We have to be willing to embrace the change, and flow with the land. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. Our job is to jump fences, cross fields, and try stuff out. Even if we are wrong, the mistakes will teach us.
A New Way of Thinking
Are you in the dormant stage too? Waiting for spring to come, waiting to fulfill that farm aspiration dream? Waiting to take that trip of a lifetime? It’s time to stop waiting. It’s time to take out your pruning shears and get back to the essentials. Get back to the essence of your family. The time is now. Jump the fence. Start your 20 member community supported agriculture program, buy a goat, or write more about growing up in your wild+free family. It doesn’t really matter what.
So what are you going to try out this spring?