Several weeks ago I had to make a trip to Southern Illinois. I was headed toward Indiana on I-196 in near blizzard conditions. It was a combination of blinding snow and sleet with powerful winds. Ditches were filling with cars. It was quite a white knuckle trip. Eventually, I drove out of it. The next four hours were uneventful until I reached Springfield, Illinois. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The skies cleared. The sun was out in all its glory. As I neared my destination, I could see that “green haze” along the Interstate’s shoulders. Yes, everything was leafing out and turning green. When I arrived at my hotel, the buds on the trees were bursting out into leaves, the grass was green, and flowers were surrounding the parking lot and the entrance. When I got out of the car, I was hit with that sweet smell of Spring. I was also terribly overdressed. When I left home, it was cold, dark & windy. Now I had to toss my winter coat and hat into the back seat and try not to look too conspicuous in sweat pants and a wool sweater. Others were in shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits. It was 74 degrees.

I couldn’t immediately recall the last time I saw the sun or felt its warmth. My mood improved quickly and not just because it was sunny. The reason is that I knew that we were just two to perhaps three weeks behind my childhood stomping grounds. It would be just like this in Michigan soon enough. I was hoping I could tow this weather back to Michigan with me. All the way home my thoughts were filled with to-do lists. Picking up sticks, raking, cultivating, fertilizing, planting, grilling! Yes, the outdoor barbecues with family and friends will soon be much more than a memory. I returned home invigorated and full of ideas for the season to come, and I was greeted by the ruckus made by the newly awakened peepers which made me smile and roll down the window. Naturally, summer menus are of the most interest to me. The Farmer’s Markets will soon be teaming with activity. On a side note, I have to thank my son Jeff and his beautiful family for a birthday gift. Get a load of this!

A raised garden planter! My son Jeff & his family surprised me with this for my birthday. No more toiling on the ground for this guy. So thoughtful and what a back saver. Now I’m conflicted about what to plant or whether to plant at all with a freeze likely May 21st thru 23rd. I always get my plants and herbs in the ground by May 15th, but not this year. Here it is, June 9th and I’m way behind. Due to a medical issue, I was down for a couple of weeks. (I’m fine now by the way) The next few days should provide the opportunity to get outside and get dirty. Before long I’ll be able to enjoy fresh Basil, flat leaf Italian parsley, dill, thyme, and rosemary. Tomatoes and peppers are on the agenda as well. Thank you, kids. I love you all, and it will be a great summer.

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