Spring in the Cove: Three

At the best of times, I have a short little span of attention, and THESE times are not helping. So while we isolate here at home, maybe I can show you what I’m noticing in the spring landscape, and around the site, cause that is mostly what I’m doing anyway.

This is a special moment in what passes for spring in these parts. The landscape comes to life in small nuggets, so we have time to value and celebrate each one. Like this bright patch of coltsfoot popping out of gravel at the edge of our road.

Soon the whole plant world will be developing so rapidly, there will not be no time to acknowledge every change. Last week the rhubarb had just reached the surface, now it is starting to erupt.

Catkins noticed on the corkscrew witch hazel.

Lots of people are venturing into home gardening and wondering if it is too early to start seeds. I’ll leave that question to others, but right now you can grow crops in your kitchen. After just a few days you can harvest a crop of crispy and delicious sprouts (lots of growing advice online). These are alfalfa sprouts from seeds, several years old, that we discovered in the pantry.

An annual task is imposing discipline on a big rose that climbs our vegetable garden deer fence. For this job I bring out the rose gauntlets, that prevent giant thorns from shredding my hands and wrists. That would be a little too Easter.

At the start of a day working in the garden, I’ll take out one or two tools, but as one thing leads to another, I’ll keep returning to the shed to get something else. Eventually there will be implements spread all over the yard. I started moving a rock yesterday and here is what I ended up carting back at the end of the job.

Spending time outdoors brings many rewards, but I particularly value the quality of light at the end of the day, when I wander the garden without intent.

Have you been noticing the dramatic tree shadows? Sometimes I insert myself into the scene, as one does.


Every few days we venture off the lot and walk up to the postboxes. One day the only mail was this little infographic from the federal government. If I was still in a collecting frame of mind, I’d be saving some Covid-19 ephemera. Someday this pandemic will be long gone, and the ephemera will remind us of that moment when we learned not to touch our face, and to really wash our hands.

For example, here is ephemera that governments printed at other moments of change. This confounding card is from the time in the 1980s when we were adapting to Celsius. “Say goodnight to Fahrenheit” the newspaper ads said.

A clearer call is to “count yourself in” to the 1981 census.

This announcement of anti-smoking laws in Nova Scotia is a great design, not the least because the photograph clearly shows Brutalist style concrete, undoubtedly on an institutional building. Sweet.

Spring in the Cove: One
Spring in the Cove: Two
Spring in the Cove: Four
Spring in the Cove: Five
Spring in the Cove: Six
Spring in the Cove: Seven
Spring in the Cove: Eight

About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.