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A Good Friday and Welcome Spring!

March 21st, 2008

Spring is finally here as we eagerly await the warmer days.  Yet so much rain has fallen in the region this week that many areas are still expecting flooding today and tomorrow.  By next week all is forecast to return to normal, but it’s always amazing how fast nature can change our lives.  The animals and birds just “are” and each day is one of gathering, building… living.   We are not so different.

Today this Tufted Titmouse has been working at the last of the suet I put out for the woodpeckers.

Tufted-titmouse eating suet

Rufous-sided Towhee stopped by for a visit the other morning.  They must head south in the fall because this is the first one I’ve seen or heard in quite a while.

Rufous-sided Towhee

We enjoyed the first sunset of spring yesterday.  I never tire of watching the sun fade behind the trees, or over the horizon at sea.

First spring sunset at Fox Haven

Almost Time for the Garden!

March 18th, 2008

Okay, raise your hand if you’re starting to get the gardening itch!?  I’ve been looking longingly at seed packs, and we’re trying to decide exactly where to plant everything this year.  Frankly I’m a little distrurbed that it seems so exciting to me!

But it’s all part of the season, and knowing that if you grow plants and take care of them that you’ll put fresh, healthy food on your table… well, how could that not be exciting!?  Maybe it taps into some aspect of our long-ago agrarian forebears.  In an age in which we have and use every conceivable technological invention, it’s nice to simply “play in the dirt” once in a while.

Of course I like shovels and hoes just fine, but when I really want to play in the dirt, nothing beats a 23hp tractor.  Except maybe a bigger tractor.  :) 

John Deere 2320 tractor 

I’m thinking of planting a few rows of something special this year though.  I’ve always wanted to grow giant pumpkins!  Don’t ask me why… I don’t really know.  And what will I do with a few giant pumpkins after they’re grown?  They’d make a nice display for a while, then you better have someplace to let them, well… decompose I suppose.

Maybe a nice big row of sweet corn?  With the price of fuel and ethanol production these days, it may get harder to find good eating corn at a reasonable price.  I remember 10-15 ears for a dollar years ago, but last year it was a quarter each.

Have you ever been to the Garden Web forums?  It’s a wonderful place to read and learn about so many things involving gardening, plants and landscaping.  I’ve always ended up there while looking for answers, so now I just go there first.  They even have a section on tractors :)

For now I look around at all that is still so brown. But not for long!  Soon we’ll be covered in greenery, and chasing ourselves around trying to get things done.  The change of the seasons… before we know it we’ll be muttering about the bugs, but that’s okay, I’m ready!

Fox Haven Pond

Things Undone

March 1st, 2008

It was warm today!  The ice on the pond slowly melted, giving way to dappled sunlight.  All of a sudden I felt an urgency to do so many things that I’ve not yet finished.  Spring is coming… more to do!

Pond ice fades under warming sun

Our Burt Dow Boat

April 30th, 2007

It was hot today with the temperature exceeding 91 degrees F with blue skies.  It really felt like summer already, but I know that’s part of seasons of change.  The trees are leafing out vigorously, and the insects have arrived with abandon.  It was a day for planting container flowers around the house as well. 

I found a use for an old dingy our family has had for many years.  I think my father obtained the little boat from a neighboring family in the early 1970’s.  We never really used it for much, but I remember one time in the late 1970’s when a friend and I carried the boat several blocks to a local pond.  We floated around very proud of ourselves, and then carried it back.  It was fairly heavy for two teenagers, and we never did that again.  The dingy saw a little use on the pond here as well, but for many years has stood leaning in and out of the barn.  The wood has rotted and the little boat is falling apart. 

The little dingy filled with flowers sparse yet, but by summer there will be many blooms!

But the other day I remembered one of my favorite stories of my youth… “Burt Dow, Deepwater Man”.  The story was written by award-winning children’s author Robert McCloskey in 1963.  I loved the book so much that I even found an original copy on eBay a few years ago.  Burt Dow is a retired fisherman who lives with his sister.  The story is a charming narrative of going fishing and encountering whales at sea.  But outside their home, there is an old boat filled with flowers.  I always remembered that boat… so today we filled our own “Burt Dow Boat” with colorful petunias… they are small yet, but in a few months I imagine many colorful blooms cascading down the sides of the good old dingy.

The young one was excited to find new tadpoles that have emerged in the pond.  We set up a small tank in his room with a few tadpoles to watch them grow.  I don’t know the species of frog they will become, but we’ll watch them.  Many of them will become food for the fish and other creatures in the pond, but enough will survive to grow into adult frogs.

Tadpoles emerging in Spring

 

I couldn’t resist a picture of this beautiful Iris… they just bloomed today.

Iris blooming in Spring

New Spring Leaves

April 29th, 2007

The leaves are finally here!  Okay, I’m excited… it’s been a long winter and spring waiting for the new leaf growth.  When fall comes I’ll be muttering about how many leaves there are to clean up.  But for now we can enjoy the trees as they develop the thick green cover that provides our summer shade. 

These Oak tree leaves are red as they emerge- I think they are from a Red Oak variety even though the lobes look rounded at this point.  I’ll need to look at them again over the next couple months.

 Red Oak tree leaves growing in early Spring

These leaves are green however, and are probably of the White Oak variety.  The rounded tips and lobes of the leaf is a characteristic of the White Oaks.  Red Oaks have a pointed tip on the ends of the leaf lobes after they mature.

White Oak tree leaves in Spring

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