Saturday, May 4, 2013

Springing into Action

Things are finally springing into action around here. For much of April it was cold and windy, feeling more like late winter than spring. Now, in early May, leaf buds are unfurling, tulips and dandelions are blooming in the yard, the sugar snap peas are two inches tall, pairs of phoebes and robins are busy with their nests, and potatoes are planted. This week I sifted the material in the compost bin, adding some to each garden row. The drip hoses are laid out. We are ready for the long days of summer.

But no need to rush. This is a time to enjoy some of the most beautiful few weeks of the year in New England - before full leaf-out and before black flies emerge en masse. Each morning we listen for the new spring arrivals of songbirds to our neighborhood. This week we heard the flute-like ee-oh-lay of the wood thrush that returned to the woodland on Bald Hill Road and black-throated green warblers are singing their buzzy zoo-zee, zoo-zoo-zee from the mixed woods of oak and pine. I saw my first dragonfly of the year early in the week, but it buzzed by too fast to identify.

Some spotted salamander eggs have hatched; they look like tadpoles when small.
Clusters of unfurling fern fiddleheads resemble crowds of earth-bound aliens.
The forest floor is dotted with early wildflowers, known as spring ephemerals because they bloom early and whither quickly. Look for red trillium, trout lily, and spring beauty among other spring ephemerals in early May before the weather turns too warm.

On my woodland wanderings I'm hearing the low-pitched snore
of the pickerel frog from shrubby shores of wetlands. 
Time just zipped by lately. That happens when the weather is beautiful -- warm and sunny. The two peach trees in our front yard are loaded with pink flowers. I'm thankful we did not get the big snows that fell in the Midwest this week. While walking a property in southern Maine I saw an unusually tall (over my head) hobblebush in full bloom. It was hosting a dozen beetles and bees -- insects happy to find some nectar among the mostly bare trees in the forest.

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