When lilies and thistles bloom, mulberries ripen, box turtles lay eggs, and winter wheat turns pale gold green, then it is the first week of Early Summer, and the whole season lies out before us. Blue chicory flowers in the waysides. Catalpas and privets and pink spirea bloom as the first cutting of hay gets underway. Nodding thistles, Canadian thistles, first daisy fleabane, the first great mullein, the first Asiatic lily, the first orange trumpet creeper and the first tall meadow rue open.
After apple petals all have fallen, late spring enters its glory, keeping the promises of March and April. Iris bloom quickly spreads across the country, and mock orange flowers squeeze out into the warmest afternoons, four or five days after the iris, about a week in advance of the peonies.
Everything happens so quickly between the end of March and the middle of May. Bare trees fill out, and the brown, silent earth comes completely alive. The feelings that move over me in the wake of all those changes range from joy to disappointment to a sense of being overwhelmed.
The season of Late Spring deepens when daddy longlegs begin hunting in the undergrowth and darners are out in the swamps. Cliff swallows migrate as buckeyes and lilacs and garlic mustard come into full bloom. Yellow wood sorrel blossoms in the yard, and the first cycle of cabbage moths is at its peak.
I have dreamed about self-sufficiency since I first wanted to run away from home. My fantasies became more intense as I grew older, and they were especially encouraged in the 1960s when I read my first copies of one of the great back-to-the-land magazines, Mother Earth News.