Every task seems to come with its own set of problems. I ordered a sling bag of Vermont composted manure from SBS. It is a huge plastic burlap bag filled with two yards of weed-free compost. I use a small amount in my garden rows and in the bottom of seed trays. It is an enormous amount for a small garden but very in high quality.

I picked it up in my dump truck. It comes on a pallet. When I dumped it off the truck, it was upside-down. Not wanting to cut the bag, I tried every possible way to right it so I could open the top properly. As a last resort I backed my pickup truck into it at breakneck speed, hoping to push it over. Oh! It went over all right, but not before I wedged my truck on top of it with no hope of rescue.

Luckily my young worker, Rose, was with me. We used our tiny penknives (me with my Case Cutlery Texas toothpick, the best knife ever). We lay on the ground and hauled dirt for some time with our shoulders deep in the bag. Finally the truck was removed. I bought myself a brownie and called it a day.

Did I mention that right before this incident we moved buckets of manure tea? Please don’t think this is anything scientific; it’s chicken manure in five-gallon buckets into which rain had fallen for weeks. It was positively bubbly. I sloshed a significant amount into my shoe before I wallowed around under the truck scooping. Fortunately for me, I am a good sport and have a hot shower at home.

I ate my first asparagus. I don’t know if there is a more welcome sign of spring in the vegetable garden. I have had the patch for over 30 years. I am starting a new bed this year. I ordered roots of Mary Washington from Nourse this winter. They should be arriving this week along with blueberries and raspberries.

It was so warm last week, I was in a tizzy. I felt behind from the moment I woke up. Felt like I should plant zucchini. I heard it was over 90 degrees in Boston.

I am wild about my hyacinths, especially the yellow and orange ones. I believe they are City of Harlem and Gypsy Queen. I put three in each hole, in groups of five. They are so cheerful, and extremely fragrant. I’ve noticed they do not last forever. The ones I planted in past years make a poor showing, and each blossom is weak. Like some of the tulips, they need to be replanted every few years. The grape hyacinths and English ones do seem to spread. Speaking of poor showings, I do not know what to make of my pathetic daffodils. I plant dozens and get one or two. I am taking it personally. Look how great they are at both Cronig’s parking lots. I am totally jealous.

After commenting last week about the use of Charlene Douglas’s glass greenhouse, she wisely noticed how the leaves of both the peppers and eggplants seemed sunburned. Sure enough, they had not handled the transition from grow lights to bright, all-day spring sunshine as we had hoped. Good to know. In the future a layer of Reemay will help them adjust. They are coming along nicely now.

Cathy Walthers of Raising the Salad Bar fame hosted a small gathering last Saturday evening. John Bunker from Fedco Seeds of Maine was the guest of honor. John had taught a workshop that day about grafting heirloom apple trees. His comments after the delicious meal were very inspiring. I hope I become more observant of old trees this year.

I have been thinking about and praying for the people in West Virginia following the coal mine explosion. How, I wonder, how would our small community cope with the loss of, say, 29 fishermen?