I don’t measure the time in days or weeks, but rather in flowers and the height of crops in fields and temperature at night and the length between sunrise and sunset. I never realized that I did this. It’s another habit that I picked up over the years. Even when I spent less time in the backyard as I grew up, I still saw the progression of the flowers and watched corn fields and wheat grow from little sprouts to tall, waving stalks that reached over my head.
I knew spring had begun when the daffodils started to bloom. They were followed by the tulips that saw the end of the winter frosts. This is when we pruned the flowering fruit trees and started burning brush and branches. The roses sent up new shoots and, before long, it was time for the irises and the lilacs to bloom. The rhubarb needed flowers clipped off then and dad rototilled and we planted the garden. Soon the strawberries bloomed, the raspberries started coming, and we planted petunias and geraniums in the pots on the back patio. I watched out the window as the roses, poppies, and primroses bloomed.
Before long though, the mums were up and blooming in gorgeous autumn colors like red and orange and yellow. Soon after this, the frosts began. I remember many a late night spent frantically covering pumpkin vines and hoping that they would survive the frost. They generally did until the really hard frosts hit. At that point, we would bring all of the squash and pumpkins into the garage in preparation for the coming holidays. Autumn leaves were raked into the garden patch and the yard was readied for winter. The next summer, when the first green spikes of daffodils poked their way up through the snow, we knew that winter was over and the whole cycle was about to start over again.
I knew that flowers obviously bloomed at different times in different places, but I didn’t realize that the hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips would all be blooming at the same time and that the lilacs would bloom in spring. In Idaho, the lilacs don’t grace us with their blossoms until summer. It’s amazing what you pick up on without realizing.