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Family ties built during dirt digging

About this time of year, the itch to dig in the dirt hits. The label of gardener doesn’t apply; I’m barely even a novice, but over the years the enjoyment of planting flowers, and sometimes even vegetables, has grown strong and renews my soul. Growing family roots also builds my soul and both were accomplished last weekend.

This time of the year is simply soul-renewing. Birds signal the start of the day in full song and a lot of lakes and sloughs are either free of ice or nearly free. With life budding all around, and temperatures in the 50s last week, and expected to continue through this one as well, people much like plants, are emerging from a long winter semi-hibernation. The never-ending list of yard tasks has begun as a drive around town suggests.

Trees are being trimmed -- one lady had a rather large pile of sticks she was loading into a trailer attached to an old pickup truck parked along the boulevard -- and her husband kept adding to the pile as he trimmed a long hedge that lined their home. Yards are being raked and there is evidence of plantings at greenhouses everywhere.

A true gardener once said -- she has earned the title of Otter Tail County Master Gardener -- that one should wait until sitting in the grass didn’t result in a wet bottom before starting yard cleanup. While I don’t doubt the wisdom in her advice, who can stand to wait?

Certainly not I and a host of others. This time of the year is brown, not a pretty, rich brown, but a dingy, ugly brown and I am always anxious to brush that ugliness into a garbage bag to see the pretty green of new grass and early spring flowers pushing through the soil.

In order to honor my master gardener friend by staying off the yard, and yet satisfy my gardening yearning, I walked through a greenhouse on Saturday and planted a couple pots of flowers. A county landscape business opens up a little early each spring and invites people to pick out several flowers to create a small oasis of color to set on their stoop or deck.

There are master gardeners to offer guidance in choosing plants that “thrill, fill and spill.”

The best part of the day was time spent with the girls in my little family. I had suggested to my daughters, daughter-in-law and her mom and sister that we make a girls day and plant flowers. For a little money, we would start our day with lunch and end it at a local greenhouse to plant a container of flowers that would grace our stoops by June.

They all agreed it sounded like fun and we had a great time, chatting and laughing through lunch and wandering the greenhouse to find flowers to personalize our containers that would display our individual tastes.

We had so much fun, in fact, that several of us decided to create a fairy garden for my grandchildren to enjoy. There is no doubt they will be filled with wonder as they look for the treasures hidden in the little garden.

And the fun of spending time with family will be fulfilled again, which is really the end reward: building strong family ties with memories.