“Setting Eggs” and Breaking New Ground: By Renea Winchester
It only takes one or two days of sunshine to catapult winter-weary gardeners into a feverous pitch that can only be defined as mania. It’s been a frigid winter and most of the country has at one time or another, been blanketed in either snow or ice (or both)!
As a result, the moment the sun breaks through, birds gather to shout their praises and sun lovers abandon the couch in search of spring.
However, before we start getting all crazy and start setting eggs, planting seeds, and plunging our hands in the dirt, we need to refer to the “good book” for guidance.
I’m talking about the almanac…Grier’s 205th Annual issue to be exact.
Last week, I presented Billy with his copy of the almanac. Under his training, I’ve quickly learned that he takes the advice written on these pages quite seriously. He plants crops and “sets hens” only when approved by Mr. Grier himself. According to page 6 of the 205th edition, we should: “Set eggs to hatch in a fruitful sign. The chicks will mature faster and be better layers.”
Billy snatched the calendar off the wall as I delved into the newsprint pages eager to determine when we were going to “break the new ground.” As an aside, he likes to plant something, usually potatoes on Good Friday.
This year, Grier’s predicts a wet February which is not good, considering the rice-field debacle we mucked through last February in his garden.
Undeterred by the gloomy prediction Billy asked, “When does it say I can set some ‘aigs?’ The hens are getting restless.”According to Billy, he has been “breaking up hen parties left and right.” He is a firm believer health chicks comes from following these stringent, albeit mysterious, “signs.”
I licked my finger and turned the page. “It says we should set eggs on the 13, 14, or 15th of February; then on the 22 or 23rd of February.”
I placed a sharpie in his weathered hand. Billy opened the cap and circled the date; then he replaced the cap and said with a nod, “We’ll set those hens on Valentine’s day.”
I can think of no better way to celebrate our love of gardening…can you?
Soon, we’ll be listening to baby chicks say, “peep, peep” and enjoying the magic that spring brings.
Until my next post, remember keep those hands dirty.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author whose
book, In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life,
Love & Tomatoes is available in bookstores everywhere and online. Visit her website at
www.reneawinchester.com to learn more.