In past years, I start posting about signs of spring and springtime activities in April. After having just enjoyed two muddy days with temperatures rising to sixty degrees and with new birdsongs in the air, it appears as though spring is springing early his year. And if I jinx it, and we receive the snowy cold weather we’ve been waited for all winter long, great!
Here are some of my favorite spring time traditions:
Look and listen for signs of spring: Jot down notes on a calendar or a piece of paper that you can save. Keeping a “Signs of Spring” list heightens my sense of awareness when spending time outdoors. I pay more attention to the little things that are happening around me as the world wakes up from hibernation. Sounds, smells, sights, tastes, and feelings can all point to signs of spring. Saved lists from past years allow you to notice changes from year to year.
Learn new birdsongs: Every spring I am reinspired to learn more birdsongs. First, I review birdsongs of species are common around the house. There’s a list of mnemonics here and a huge directory of songs to listen to at “All About Birds.” Then, when I go for walks down our back dirt roads or hikes in the forest, I listen carefully. As I walk I try to translate what I hear: “Cherrio, cheery me, cheery me,” for example. When I arrive home, I try to identify one or two of the songs I remember (that was an American Robin). Slowly but surely I identify more and more songs in the outdoor chorus on my own.
Start Seeds: Even if you don’t have a garden, starting seeds can be a fun spring activity. All you need is a container with a hole poked in the bottom, potting soil, seeds of your choice, and some sort of dish for your container to sit in. Grow lights or windows with strong southern sun will make for stronger seedlings that will do better if transplanted into your garden. Plants like peas, lettuce, spinach, and herbs can be eaten as sprouts or “micro greens,” making this project rewarding in as little as 30 days!
Taste the first wild greens of the season: As spring progresses, keep an eye out for wild ramps, fiddleheads, young nettles, or other edible wild plants. Foraging is most rewarding and delicious in the spring when plants are young, tender, and mild. They also tend to grow before anything is ready from gardens, satiating our cravings for fresh green treats after a winter of soups, stews, and casseroles. Read more about the plants I look for here.
Force spring branches: All you need to do is clip branches and put them in a vase filled with fresh water. Change water regularly, as you would for cut flowers. Blooming branches, like forsythia, are great for forcing. At indoor temperatures, your branches’ buds will open into new leaves and flowers. We clip the bright red branches of dogwood now for a beautiful table arrangement at Easter.