And It Is Memorial Day!

Well, almost.

It has been a long, cool and rainy spring. Which has been great in some respects- the spring bulbs have lasted and lasted. But, it has seemed as if the cold and dreary weather has continued for just too long. But, at last we are having some slightly warmer weather.

And, after this winter, it is just so welcome!

The grass is green, apple trees are in bloom,  and it seems as if every yard has trusses of lilacs filling the air with their fragrance. Summer seems just around the corner. And in Maine, normally Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer. This year, it being early changes a few things, but tradition runs high here!

And there are several things that are traditionally tied to Memorial Day here in Maine. And, even though it is early, most things probably will be the same as a later Memorial Day.

First, for those of us who plant gardens, it is the traditional weekend to put it in. By a garden Mainers do not meant a flower garden, we mean a vegetable garden. You will hear people asking- “Is your garden in.” And, what is meant is, is your vegetable garden planted.
Granted one does all the prep work for a garden in March, if possible, when the soil has thawed, and has dried out a bit dry. And, certainly peas are planted April 1. But, the rest of a garden needs to wait until Memorial Day. The reason is we often have late hard frosts. And, one does want the soil to have warmed before putting in seeds and seedlings.
This year, Memorial  Day being early, gardens may need to wait until June 1, but I am betting most of them go in this weekend.

The other thing that traditionally happens on Memorial Day weekend is people from away come to open up their cottages for the summer. Winter damage is surveyed, and inside and out there is a lot of cleaning up and throwing out, which is all part of a cottage opening process. This culminates in trips to the dump on Saturday, and a trip to a flower nursery on Sunday to get the traditional geraniums and petunias for window boxes and pots.

This happens everywhere in Maine- if you have a cottage on a lake, or a house on deep water, now is when one takes stock of what has happened over the winter, and what needs to be done for the coming summer. Curtains get washed and rehung, bedding aired, shelves cleared off and washed, and all made tidy. Outdoors grass is mowed, and fallen tree limbs picked up.  Memorial Day is a work weekend for many.

Once this is done, people from away can leave knowing the cottage is ready and waiting for them to enjoy their time during the summer.

If one is not a summer visitor, Memorial Day tends to be a family weekend of getting the garden in, doing some yard work, going to town for a parade- and every town does have one! And, just enjoying a long weekend! The culmination for natives is a family cook out on Monday. In general, it is just a nice relaxed time.

There are some things I will NOT do on the Memorial Day weekend!

Top of the list is go to the market. Every market is swarmed on Friday either from people getting weekend supplies, or people who are arriving for the opening of their cottage. And, Saturday is just as bad as people buy things for cook outs, or if they are from away and just getting in, they need to supply the camp or cottage.

The second thing is I will not go to the Dump either Friday or Saturday. On Friday every contractor is there, and on Saturday, everyone who is doing any type of clean up  be is there.

The third thing is don’t even think of going to a hardware store! Everyone who needs anything for home or dock will be there. This is when people discover the toilet does not work, or the worn out porch screen has finally given up the ghost and needs to be repaired. People need things for boats, fishing rods, and anything and everything else.

And, finally I will NOT go to any flower nursery. They are swamped! It does not matter how early they open, people will be fighting over geraniums and lupin plants!

For people who live here the best thing is to go to the dump on Thursday, get your weekend supplies for family get togethers after that, and, once the garden is in, take time to enjoy a long weekend, hopefully with bright skies and warm sun!

 Wishing all a safe, happy
Memorial Day!