About Me

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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The signs..

that spring is definitely springing:
  • fully-blooming early daffodils
  • the first species tulip
  • buds on the dogwood j-u-s-t beginning to open
  • blooms on red maples in the historic district
  • cardinals making much more racket than they've made in months (Could love be in bloom?)            . . . . . and
  • buds on the physocarpus!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Back again

They're here. A glance out the window this morning revealed several of what I at first thought were starlings, but something wasn't quite right: these birds' bodies were too elongated, and the walk was different. A moment's thought (I being on only my first cup of coffee) clarified the situation: the grackles are back from wherever they spend the winter, and a flock/horde/cackle of them had returned to Chipmunk Ridge, where they were pecking around in the mulch and among the dried grasses. Luckily for them and the neighborhood robins, yesterday I broke out the string trimmer and had at the meadow and savannah gardens, leaving plenty of nesting material scattered about.

Spring has officially sprung.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

And so it begins

I went away for a few days and came home to two species of crocuses in full bloom and daffodils--barely visible above ground when I left--in bud, with two showing enough color that I cut them and brought them indoors. The "Tete-a-Tete" dwarf daffs in the neighbor's yard are already in full bloom, and the purple hellbores, which had looked nearly dead a few weeks ago, are at their perky purple best. This seemed a good afternoon to clear away last year's foliage to make room for new growth, so I got a good start.

It's amazing how many leaves had blown in over the winter; I raked up several trash cans full (and had the problem of finding places to put them, but that's another story). Clearing the ground revealed some daffodils that I'd forgotten we had (yes, that's how deep some of the post-autumn leaf piles had gotten) and enough heartening new growth on other things to make up for what looks at this point like the death of our rosemary, at least one red sage, which had heaved up out of the ground under a snowdrift, leaving its poor little roots sadly unprotected, and most of the santolina and orange thyme. We may have lost a front-yard rose as well. The plants that survived the winter, however, seem totally unfazed.

The obedient plant is spreading in a way that promises lots of pink in late summer, and the new growth on the "Fireworks" goldenrod is a lusher green than usual. Several varieties of aster are staking out their territory, and the penstemon is already greening up. Irises and daylilies have sent up fresh foliage, and the Oriental poppy looks to be seeking world domination.

After more than enough winter, it is finally spring in the garden.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Road(s) Not Taken

Back at my favorite Toledo parks today, but they were not their usual selves. This afternoon's temperature was in the forties, and some hardy joggers were in tank tops and shorts, but I was not one of them. (Full disclosure: I don't jog.) The snow in some places at the edges of parking lots was higher than my Honda. (Yes, those are cars off to the right.)

This was the path to my favorite prairie overlook.

A close-up
 Bench-sitting was not meant to be today, either.

This was the path to "Susan's meadow," today only visible from a distance.

This is NOT my favorite weather for park exploration--but at least one robin didn't mind the snow.
 And the fox squirrels were having a fine time at the sunflower seed feeder. The sight of their tails cheered me right up.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Rambunctious Robins

Robin activity has picked up in the neighborhood. A few days ago, before the last Great Snow of 2014 (if rumor has it, not yet the last--sigh), an entire flock was fluttering up and down a front yard slope on a nearby street: some with an ear cocked toward the ground, perhaps hoping for early worms; some tugging at dried grasses; some bickering with each other over choice pieces of territory (indistinguishable to my untrained human eyes). They were making a lot of noise, indicating a possible return of their usual springtime rambunctiousness.

Today brought an even more hopeful sign of spring: a very colorful robin scratching in the mulch under the serviceberry. He or she (I'm no good at determining robin gender) was kicking up quite a lot of shredded hardwood and gazing intently at the ground. Eventually, the bird located just the right piece of dried vegetation from the mix and took off. Could it be--nest-building time?

Monday, March 3, 2014

And can I ever bid these joys farewell?

As I was shoveling snow today (as I have been doing with some regularity since November 12th), a line from Keats sprang to mind: "And can I ever bid these joys farewell?" Young Mr. K, of course, was writing of the joys of pastoral poetry (chasing nymphs, drinking Italian wine, falling asleep in a magic glade while being fanned by a bevy of beautiful females), which would have to be abandoned before becoming a serious writer. The line came back to me as I noticed the sun sparkling on the several inches of snow covering the front yard and causing interesting shadows from the shrubs and yard art.
 Tired of shoveling as I was, I had to admit that the grasses did look fine in their winter coats,
 although snow-smushed muhly does look vaguely spiderish.
In the back yard, the feeder scene was lively and colorful,
even amusing,
 and knowing that one is providing a useful service is gratifying.
But I could quite happily bid farewell to the joys of winter. It has gone on quite long enough this year.