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Many people celebrate the New Year at the year’s end, but not me. The darkest days and coldest nights never quite felt like the right time for newness. Instead, the vernal equinox has always marked my “new year” and that only amplified after I bought my own home.

When the sunlight starts to linger longer, I begin to rediscover every corner of my home — winter cobwebs and all! The yearning pops up to wash every curtain and set them outside to

dry, absorbing that sun-bleached smell that’s impossible to recre- ate in a dryer. I eagerly bring nature indoors, cutting the first early yellow blooms that greet us as my kids play outside in the buttercups. Home is always the first place that I notice the rhythm of the season and this “new year.”

Reading through the pages of our Spring Home issue, many of the stories resonate with the feelings I find in my own home this time of year.

One of our favorite things to do as a family in early spring is to plan out our gardens. We cir- cle around the kitchen island with a notepad, pencils and tons of ideas swirling in our heads. Our focus is usually on us and what we like to eat and enjoy, but after reading Victoria Caruso’s story on native plants, (p. 66) we’ve shifted our mindset and have decided to dedicate much of our garden to feeding pollinators and nourishing local wildlife. “The pollinators deserve food too, Momma,” my 5-year- old tells me. And she’s right, as usual.

Artist Ian Love isn’t intimidated by nature’s imperfections. From his Riverhead studio, Love crafts stools, tables, chairs and office furnishings from discarded wood that lets nature’s blemishes shine. (p. 36) As I notice every perfect flaw in my home’s antique pine flooring, I appreciate the character of the trees that this wood once came from and I think of Love.

Also within these pages, North Fork historians Richard Wines and Nancy Gilbert share their journey through restoration projects on their Jamesport property, Winds Way Farm, a place that teems with history the moment you step foot on the 15-acre grounds. (p. 50) The story is a beautiful reminder to consider and preserve the charm of the past however you can.

For me, part of preserving the past lives in the act of tradition. Each year, when the crocuses would bloom, I’d get a call from my grandmother asking me to help her scrub her screens. “It’s time to open the windows, Mik,” she’d say. And she was spot-on: letting the light in is one of the pro tips that Nicholas Grasso gathered along with other notes on refreshing your home for spring. (p. 98)

Although screen cleaning was a daunting chore, it was a tradition I never declined. You might think it’s because the reward was banana splits, and you’d only be partially wrong. As I spring clean and wash my own screens, I’m connected to my past and thankful for those moments. And if you happen to see me early this season at Magic Fountain ordering a banana split with nostalgia and a cherry on top, you can safely assume it’s been a solid day of spring cleaning.

— Michelina Da Fonte, Content Director