I also saw a most excellent Sign of Spring in the wetlands alongside Andover Road Burying Ground: emerging skunk cabbages!
Now I’m sitting out on the patio in bare feet, drinking jasmine tea and eating purple otap. Mauve otap, really. It’s pretty much the exact color of my sweater. I tried to take a picture but my hand is shaking like a canoe on a windy lake so it’s probably extremely blurry. There’s a weird bird (?) off in the woods making the most horrible plaintive “raaaah!” sound over and over, like a tortured cat. It’s pretty great.
[Maybe it was a squirrel??]
Sign of spring: I heard a lone spring peeper frog’s shrill “meep! meep! meep!” backed by a quiet chorus of male wood frogs “quacking” from the wetlands across the road when I brought the trash out just now!
It was so beautiful out today! The sky was so blue up here, and almost all the snow from yesterday melted. I slowly strolled around the yard in the sun, noticing lots of cool details. The lawn is super-squelchy from all the rain and my boots got very muddy, but I didn’t care. Two new Signs of Spring: pale green shoots are beginning to emerge from the day lilies’ mounds, and the catmints already have a few minuscule leaves under the old dry stalks.
There are so many interesting things on the ground: moist, pet-able moss, tiny deer droppings everywhere around the yard, and an absolutely amazing number of chestnut burrs under our most productive chestnut tree, opened like flowers with velvet insides and painfully spiny petals.
After my stroll, I cut off the old dried-up Black-Eyed Susans from last year, and found another Sign of Spring: lots of fat fuzzy purple-and-green leaves growing out of the ground, mostly hidden by fallen oak leaves.
After I cleaned up a few leaf piles, admired some lichen, and looked at Succulent Hill’s progress, I sat on the patio writing down my observations while two chipmunks scampered back and forth, in and out of their secret passages in the stone wall, eating nuts and seeds I’d put out for them. The big Hairy Woodpecker was at the feeder about 15 feet away, trading off with Downy, nuthatches, a blue jay, and fluttering doves.
Then I made tea and sat on the patio drinking it, munching on an apple and watching the birds some more, wrapped in a blanket, trying to pretend it wasn’t starting to get cold, so I wouldn’t have to go inside yet. :-)
Speaking of baby mice, a few days ago the grandson of the people who used to own our land in Willington wrote to me, so I’ve been looking at a lot of old photos that we took over the years, and having so many fond memories of our visits. The grandson is around my age, and used to spend at least a month there every summer with his grandparents. His family lived in Queens, and they called our land “the country.” That must have been such a wonderful way to spend the summer! It’s a lot like how summers in Connecticut were for our family, coming from the D.C. metro area of Maryland.
I’ve sent him some photos of the buildings that were there when we first bought it (they were in pretty bad shape by then, and we knocked most of them down), and I imagine it must be wonderfully nostalgic to look at them. But mostly what I’m enjoying looking over are all the nature pictures we took. It’s such a special spot. We haven’t visited in a while, and I’m sure it must be very overgrown, but I love knowing the land is there in its natural state and is a little oasis for the flora and fauna (especially the frogs!). I’m going to post a few of my favorite photos tonight… just ones that strike my fancy.
Since I’m not usually around during March, I decided it would be fun to take the opportunity to observe and document the gradual approach of arrival of spring. The weather in Connecticut usually doesn’t start feeling spring-like until mid-April, but I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for subtle clues!
March 4: It’s about 27° out, with a layer of hard, frozen snow on the ground (I can walk on top without falling through). But the snow has melted enough so that the rocks in the woods are sticking out, and today I saw my first chipmunk out from hibernation (yaaaay!!!), along with our infrequent but always very welcome visitor, the Northern Flicker!
Weird, the snow is frozen so hard on top now that I can walk on it without falling through! When I do break through, it’s about 10” deep, I think… up to the top of my brown boots. Things have melted a lot over the past several days.
I found the apple I threw at the deer… it sank into the snow and then got buried when more snow came, but now it was revealed again thanks to the melting. I moved it to the tray, so they should definitely find it. I want to see that apple eaten, deer!! When I went out in front to check the propane level, I noticed they have massively eaten the lower branches of the arborvitae this year. They do that every winter, but it’s much more extreme than usual. Food must be pretty scarce with all this snow. But they are pretty well-behaved other than chomping the arborvitae and azaleas (which I don’t really care about), so it’s okay. We can pretend it’s an intentional lollipop pruning style. :)