Sunday, April 15, 2007

Desirous of Spring

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Already 7 PM and the snow continues to fall heavily, drifted first left, then right by shifting winds that care not where the flakes fall. The seedheads of the various rudbeckias have pretty much been pecked clean by the goldfinches but tonight they are like mini towers with 2" of snow stacked like a tube on top of each head. The still-firm stalks hold strong and the snow waves back and forth in the wind. Nature's super glue at work!

No one can deny the beauty outside with today's snow but you'll be hard pressed to find words of encouragement from anyone around here. It's an even 32 degrees now and has been for an hour. Before that it was 34 degrees which made the sticky snow cling tightly to every tree and shrub. There it remains. The blackberry bushes look impressive but already the birches are weeping under the heavy weight and these trees never seem to rebound from wet snows. All is not as beautiful as first glace suggests.

Today we had a get-together to celebrate Gail's mother's 90th birthday. It was a low key event with family members from Massachusetts and South Burlington. Another couple from Johnson caught one of those spring viruses that are going around and they had to cancel. I was sorry as I knew they would come early and if they had come, Jan and Al would have enjoyed a sight at the bird feeder at about 11 AM.

I was shuffling things around tryng to get the seating set up and I caught a flash out of the corner of my eye. It came from the birdfeeder outside my office window. Earlier I had chased away a flock of grackles and two ravens which were trying to steal some small pieces of suet yesterdays blue jay visitors had broken off the bigger pieces I set out Friday.

As I stopped and turned back to look at the feeder, I peregrine falcon burst from under the feeder, chickadee in its talons, and it fanned its tailfeathers and headed aloft with tremendous power and speed. These are beautiful birds and they are here because of a successful restoration program several years ago. Their favorite food is pigeons and their favorite residence has become cities, not pigeonless, houseless forestland like Groton State Forest. I do wish they would rewrite their menu to include a few grackles but they have no preference for those birds. Maybe it's the grackle's eyes and their finicky, easy-to-startle attitude.

Usually I am out raking leaves by now, or putting a new cover on the greenhouse we use to plant inside. In typical years the hellebores in the lower shade garden are forming buds and although the left-over leaves from last fall are wrinkled and brown, the promise of fine colored flowers and new leaf growth is encouraging.

Some years the first crocus would have come and gone by now but this year even by the house, the ground temperature never got warm enough to jump start the bulbs higher than half an inch out of the ground.

Gail just looked over my shoulder and commented on the hellebore pictures. She likes them too and thinks Barry Glick at Sunshine Farm and Gardens is the best US grower. I concur. I also wonder if he has snow cover today like we do. We're at 1530 feet and as I recall he's at about 4200 feet in West Virginia. Chances are it's warmer than here but snow may be in his vision too.

Time to move along as I need to get get organized for tomorrow morning. I plan to be in the truck by 4 AM to get things plowed out and cleaned up so I can get to work. If it keeps snowing like this, it could be that the "get to work" part won't be possible. We'll see.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where Karl the wonder dog is asking to go out, just as snow slides slowly off the standing seam roof with a "thud-thud-thud" noise as it hits the piles of snow now far above the bottom of the window sills.

Cold gardening wishes,

George Africa


IBOY said...

Brrr... if it makes you feel any better, your snowy weather makes me feel good about our finicky Iowa climate... 72 here today, and I had to put on sunscreen to work in the garden. It's coming your way, hopefully.

Glickster said...

Hey George, THANKS for your kind words. It DID snow and it was 26 F this AM. 15 last Sunday.

Hellebores look great though.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

We see peregrines--and redtail and other hawks--at the feeder occasionally here, too. There are a few peregrine nesting sites around the city, and one has a camera setup that shows the eggs and chicks each spring.

Sadly, their dinners here most often seem to be the mourning doves that I adore. The doves sing so beautifully, but they are so laid-back that they don't even run away from me until I'm within a 10-foot radius... I'm sure their very nature insures that they have little chance to escape the falcons.