Beau February 16th, 2009
As winter’s cold has crept back in we’re still feeding the birds and carrying firewood to the stove. But a few days ago I heard the first Spring Peepers… and they’ve been calling everyday since. It’s amazing that a tiny frog can make such a loud bird-like call, and they’re the best harbingers of spring that I know. They usually start calling around mid-to-late February in our area as the sun brings warmer daytime temperatures to shallow water.
After school one day we took a walk in our small patch of forest to see what might be emerging. I’ve heard that Witch-Hazel is blooming around the area, but we don’t have any that I know of. They’re neat small trees or shrubs with beautiful yellow fingery flowers. I think I ordered some from the conservation department, so with any luck after planting this year, we could have a tree or two of our own in a couple years. I hope to continue to plant many diverse native species, but also to emphasize the one’s that flower at different months so the honey bees will benefit. Which means we would benefit from the honey too!
On our little hike we discovered some beautiful patches of moss among the leaf litter. It’s so green and lush and reminds me of stories of fairies, leprechauns and other forest enchantments when I find places like this. Not to mention how soft it is… usually I try not to walk on the moss and lichens knowing how long it takes for most of them to grow. But it looks so inviting… on a warm day I could just lay down and take a nap.
We also saw the bluebirds checking out the nest boxes, and defending them from the sparrows. I’ll probably try to help the bluebirds by shooing the sparrows away… I also saw an enormous flock of White-fronted Geese flying high above heading northward. The Canada Geese are looking for nesting places too. That afternoon a flock of geese landed on the pond. I walk toward the pond and most of them fly off… which is okay with me given the amount of you-know-what they leave behind. Two remained behind to check out the pond… and eventually they flew off too. I do enjoy it when they visit.
It’s really fascinating to watch the seasons unfold- literally in the spring of course. Most of the changes are very subtle, such as flowers that emerge and disappear in a matter of days. Many changes are more apparent… the pond’s ice is now gone for the year. It’s nice to see the open water again, and the shadows and reflections.
After a warm day exploring, we finally watch the sun disappear behind the trees. It all looks so peaceful… and then we see something moving on that little stump by the water’s edge. It’s one of the cats, prowling along the shoreline.