Moss. So much moss. And lichen. Textures and patterns and colors, covering rocks, climbing trees, wrapping around sticks. Up at the ridge: dripping, and foam, and sodden moss, and dead leaves faded pale, collaged together in zillions of overlapped shapes, layered thick, quiet, soft, flat.

I can barely think or move; I’m bordering-on-lightheaded with that deep, satisfying exhaustion of being in nature and doing until you can’t anymore, then sitting still, centered, feeling it all sinking in. It’s a little chilly, a little breezy, steely gray and almost-rainy, but it was good.

I walked around the whole yard and climbed the whole trail and hack-pruned the big hydrangea and hack-pruned the butterfly bushes and dragged it all away. They are monsters, those butterfly bushes. It was a battle. I hack them to stubs every year and then they shoot out five feet of new growth over the course of one summer, and smell like wine and swarm with butterflies.

So many things are showing Signs now. Not pretty signs, yet, but just tiny bits of green appearing where a week or two ago it looked dead and brown. The perennials, the grass, little eager flowering weeds. They are subtle bits of green, and you have to look. But some of the Succulent Hill action is visible from my window, now! Little lumps of color sticking out of the weathered mulch. I looked up close at the individual plants with binoculars before I went out, because I am silly that way. They are glistening with captured raindrops, although the binoculars don’t show that detail.

And the moss. Moss, moss, moss. Is this wet, drippy, soggy time the moss’ favorite part of the year? I wish I could identify the mosses and lichens, but I can’t. I don’t know their names, or even how many types there are. So many. But I can still admire them. I probably need food now but I don’t know if I can move anything but my fingers. I know this isn’t coherent but neither is my brain.

The grackles have been gobbling down the bird food too fast, so I put out safflower seed. Everyone else seems to love it! Lots of swooping action in the drizzling rain today.

After several days of showers, the lawn is now extremely squelchy, and all the trees’ darkened bark looks lovely contrasting with the rocks and ground.  I was lying in my window seat looking out, and I noticed that the front boulder is SO much lighter than the back boulder, and there’s a section of light-colored rocks right next to it in the stone wall, while the rest of the wall is darker gray.  I think it’s much more dramatic on an overcast day like today, and the wet probably brings out the contrast.  It’s very interesting, though.  The lightness must be from lichen, and perhaps the lichen is spreading along, growing its lichen family?

The grackles have been gobbling down the bird food too fast, so I put out safflower seed. Everyone else seems to love it! Lots of swooping action in the drizzling rain today.

After several days of showers, the lawn is now extremely squelchy, and all the trees’ darkened bark looks lovely contrasting with the rocks and ground. I was lying in my window seat looking out, and I noticed that the front boulder is SO much lighter than the back boulder, and there’s a section of light-colored rocks right next to it in the stone wall, while the rest of the wall is darker gray. I think it’s much more dramatic on an overcast day like today, and the wet probably brings out the contrast. It’s very interesting, though. The lightness must be from lichen, and perhaps the lichen is spreading along, growing its lichen family?

Chapter 19 today.  All those creatures!!  My window seat is the best place to read.  Ever.

Chapter 19 today. All those creatures!! My window seat is the best place to read. Ever.

So many signs that the succulent bed is beginning to wake up! The second-to-last photo and the last one are the same thing, to show how super sneaky and subtle it is. If you just stand there and look at it from a normal distance, everything looks brown and dead, but if you get up close, it’s !!!

Sounds on my freezing-cold walk on our trail this sunny afternoon: dripping, wind chimes, doves cooing, dove wings fluttering, birds twittering, grackles’ squeaky-swing voices, leaves rustling. My fingers felt like they were going to drop off, and my eyes were watering like mad from the wind. I think it’s about 29°. The snow on the patio is still frozen so hard that I can stand on top without sinking in. But the moss seems so happy, and when I looked closely in the succulent bed, there were tiny tiny signs of new growth everywhere!

The melting ice formation on the ridge is all white and weird and crystal-y textured, with lots of free-standing stalagmite-y bits. Here’s how it looked a month ago.

The moss loves the moistness of all the melting snow and ice.

The moss loves the moistness of all the melting snow and ice.

More photos from my tromp outside this afternoon:  lots of DRIPS up on the mossy glacial ridge!  I love how this granite schist has all those little red pieces of garnet in it.

More photos from my tromp outside this afternoon: lots of DRIPS up on the mossy glacial ridge! I love how this granite schist has all those little red pieces of garnet in it.

The doves are cooing so loudly, I can hear them all the way up at my computer desk. Is that a sign of spring approaching?  I haven’t seen that much of them over the winter, and today they’re out strolling like Victorian gentleman in Hyde Park.  I think they’re happy the snow is melting away from Succulent Hill, their favorite spot for perambulation.  It’s cold today, but sunny.

The doves are cooing so loudly, I can hear them all the way up at my computer desk. Is that a sign of spring approaching? I haven’t seen that much of them over the winter, and today they’re out strolling like Victorian gentleman in Hyde Park. I think they’re happy the snow is melting away from Succulent Hill, their favorite spot for perambulation. It’s cold today, but sunny.

I went on a coooooold walk in the yard and took some baseline photos for my Approach and Arrival of Spring project!

The snow is so hard I barely leave any visible impression when I walk on top, and those old footprints I’m standing next to are about 8” deep. The depth of the snow varies a lot; there isn’t really one specific depth. It’s really neat walking on the surface without sinking in!

The snow around the larger rock formations on Succulent Hill has melted, but none of the plants have begun any signs of growth yet. (If you look closely in the second photo, you can see some hens-and-chicks (sempervivum), dormant. In the third photo, some dormant euphorbia are sticking out of the snow.

If you have ever lived somewhere rural, you’ll understand the fourth photo. :)

The fifth photo shows how badly the deer have eaten our arborvitae this year. The lower part always gets a little chewed on over this winter, but this is definitely the most amount of winter devouring since we’ve moved here! Notice how the snow in that area is melted, too. That’s from the deer stepping on it.

The rather ugly sixth photo is the how the phlox look this time of year, but it will be fun to compare to later in the season when they start to green up and flower!

Seventh photo: Maggie, my star magnolia, has tiny little fuzzy buds! They are really small, so it will be cool to keep an eye on them and watch them grow big! (I had to put my hand in the picture to get the camera to focus on the little buds, but it also serves to show how cooooold my hand looks!!!)

Last photo: I found a piece of deer fur on the ground. I love the thickness and slightly wavy texture, and variation in color along the length. Really interesting!

Civil twilight today = 6:12 PM.

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!

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!

Too tired to move this afternoon (I kept waking up when it was still dark out this morning, for some reason), so I lay in my window seat for a while, gazing out at the birds and the sky and the trees. Then I noticed that my camera in max-zoom mode is almost the same as things look with my real eyes. These are all max-zoom photos of things I can see whilst reclined on my window seat.

Icy, crystally textures from my trail walk this afternoon.

Further back, for a little more perspective.

Looooong icicles on the ridge.

Looooong icicles on the ridge.