Friday, May 29, 2009

Rain

The central theme of the past three days is rain. A steady, cold rain, with air temperatures hovering below 50 degrees. We needed rain for the gardens, but the cool temps put a damper on a growth spurt. The green bean and yellow wax bean seeds that I planted last weekend are surely shivering beneath the soil. The pepper plants have stalled. On the plus side the sugar snap peas continue stretching skyward and the tangy arugula has graced our salads all week. The perennials, shrubs, and herbs all seem happy with three days of drenching.

Some animals are also content. This morning while walking trails at Northwood Meadows State Park for an ecological assessment, we stepped carefully to avoid dozens of red efts creeping across the wide gravel road. The efts were all sizes and various shades of orange, and were wandering in different directions. These terrestrial juveniles of the red-spotted newt move about during rainy periods, hunting for mites, spiders, and other small creatures, and dispersing to new areas.

Just as I arrived back home and started to spread out the daypack to dry, a bedraggled fox darted past my window. I caught just a glimpse, but it was nice to see her as I had not seen any sign of her or the pups in a week or so.

Now I am wondering about all the nestlings. This is a difficult period when the parents fly off to find insects, leaving the young exposed to a cold rain. And insects are not active in this weather. I imagine it is slim pickings for the birds and some nests will be lost.

Back to our walk this morning. The Park was full of pink lady's slippers. Dozens and dozens, with some growing in clumps of 5 or more. I have never seen so many blooming in one place. If it had not been raining I would have snapped a few photos, but alas, my camera is not happy in a downpour.

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