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"From buds, leaves" by Beth Weick, as published in North Country News, May 2010

It happened. Spring, as they say, has sprung. It's been creeping up on us here at D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead for a few weeks. As in past years, there remained a part of me that was hopeful of catching the moment everything unfolds. But not quite…spring just seems to happen in some mysterious eighth day. All of a sudden, it's here.

You know? Buds become leaves, flowers dominate the landscape, hedgerows can no longer be looked through; browns give way to greens as the prominant color. Lushness takes the throne in a blink of an eye.

This a rich and beautiful thing, as reliable as ole Ben Franklin's stand-bys of death and taxes. Like any good treat, though, it can still evince some proper complaints. After all, there must be something to bemoan for the sake of gossip and passing conversation.

And spring, I think, can garner the greatest quantity of head-shakes over, first, the bugs, and second, the dandelions. I'll let the bugs stand on their own. They bite and bite hard, agreed, and I'm still working out my positive spin on those critters.

But dandelions? If you're going for the New England Best Kept Lawn, I suppose I hear your point, though I would rather fight the grass than fight the flowers. Imagine a carpet of dandelions to walk upon? Even better though, call your persistent patch of dandelions a garden bed and suddenly Mother Nature is offering you free food. The greens are delicious, especially in spring, and the flowers a tasty garnish. Better yet, dig some roots, dry some leaves, and you've got yourself some tea with a nutritive punch. And I hear, supposedly, you can roast the roots and create a coffee substitute…I don't drink the latter so I won't be the one to judge. Someone please let me know.

If all that's not enough to convince you of the treasure chest a flowering lawn can provide, consider this. You can drink the benefits of dandelion flowers as well. No, I don't mean juice or tea. We're talking homemade dandelion wine, spirits to fortify you through the fall and winter.

Come on, that had to peek your interest just a little, no?

Well, listen, there'll be a workshop at D Acres on that very thing, Sunday, May 16, 10am-12noon. $8, member and local resident discounts apply. I've enjoyed a taste of last spring's labors, and can tell you it's worth the effort. It's just another way to make the most of spring's delights.

I suppose it would eliminate the lawn care complaint, but the bugs can hold their own in that category, so never fear. Start reaping the rewards of a bountiful lawn. And when you're convinced on that point, consider getting rid of the grass entirely. Food is wholeheartedly the way to go. You can add to spring's unfolding lushness with some blossoming plants of your own.

Beth Weick is a resident of D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead, a non-profit service organization. She first came to the farm in April 2008 as an intern, and now focuses her work on gardening, tending to the animals, and writing. Learn more about the programs at D Acres by visiting www.dacres.org.

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