When it snowed last week, I sighed. Heavily. “It’s May! Would spring ever be here?” I asked aloud as I looked out the window at blooming yellow daffodils. At that moment they seemed to sigh, too, looking downward, shrugging their snow-laden shoulders.
Yet the snow quickly disappeared—Mother Nature is such a prankster!—and much of our attention at Enfield Shaker Museum has turned to our gardens. Museum curator Michael O’Connor recently shared with me the journal of Enfield Shaker Seth Bradford, who chronicled his horticultural work. The awe-inspiring structure we call the Great Stone Dwelling merited the same brief attention as planting in his May 1st, 1837, entry: “Kingsly and Co. commenced building the Stone dwelling house. Sowed 2 rows of dwarf peas.” Bradford would not mention the Great Stone Dwelling for another two months, but he did, nearly on a daily basis, note all his garden planting: varieties of cabbage, rutabagas, onions, carrots, sugar beets, turnips, lettuce, cucumbers, sage, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, radishes, and watermelon. The Great Stone Dwelling still stands as its own witness; no less important, Bradford’s journal testifies to the seasonal and the ephemeral.
Today, the Museum’s gardens promise, with care and patience, a satisfying harvest. We welcome returning and new Community and Village gardeners (though we must do so under social distancing protocols). Nearly all Community Garden plots are taken. Our Garden Coordinator, Diana Kimball-Anderson, has awakened the Museum Garden. Both gardens have set aside plots to grow produce for local food banks and for Lebanon’s Meals on Wheels program. We increased the number of shares to offer in the Museum’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and we are close to filling that number. (Check out the CSA if you wish to register for the remaining few spots!) Diana will soon plant apple trees next to the Great Stone Dwelling, replicating the historic orchard that once flourished there.
Forget the snow! Spring is here.
Please consider supporting our work. Our membership drive is underway! We now have gift certificates for future purchases in our shop or for admissions! We hope to see you as soon as it is safe to do so.
Interim Executive Director