Saturday, February 16, 2019
The recent unusual storm is now history with bright warm sunny days available to us. Forecasts had called for possibly ten inches of snow. Everything started on schedule with perhaps three inches of light dry snow covering the ground. Then dry ice pellets began to fall. The weight of the ice pellets compressed the powdery snow leaving us with about four inches of heavy accumulation on the ground that certainly held enough moisture to produce ten inches of snow. My small plow was no match for the mess closing the driveway so help was called in.
The combination of ice pellets and wind removed some parts of the trees. The purity of fresh snow was marred by black seed capsules that were everywhere. Our locust trees were covered with more flowers than ever seen here. Each pea like flower produced a long seed capsule most of which were still attached to the trees. Now many of them litter the surface of the newly fallen snow. The pictured seed pod is positioned to catch the morning sun straight on. Resulting warmth has melted a snug cave that has pulled the seeds below the snow's surface.
Despite the severity of the storm, many seeds remain attached to the trees. It may be that enough locust seeds were formed last year to plant our entire thirty-six acres. We planted this line of trees intending that they fill nearby open ground. Walking under a grove of these trees when they are in blossom is an unforgettable experience. Their scent is intense but light. Bees fill the trees happily gathering their food and pose no threat to those of us standing nearby.
These clear patches in our lawn resulted from the combined efforts of the deer and sunlight. Narrow pointed hooves are not efficient snow removal tools but persistence exposes enough grass for a meal. The deer also eat a great deal of snow left partially covering the grass. That may be how the deer get their drinking water. Our herd looked to be in great shape this late in the winter but having them feel comfortable feeding this close to our house indicates that come Spring they will be feeding on our garden plants. We wanted to live close to nature and we certainly are doing just that. Soon enough we will be out there working and the deer will move only a short distance away and feed where we can see them. Somehow they read us as presenting no real threat to them. This is their home too.
I first awoke this morning to a cold grey and silent scene. One of the really great things about where we live is that you can spend time looking out the window even before you crawl out of your nice warm bed. I was trying to decide if I really wanted to get up when I saw some color and movement. A red squirrel streaked across the snow and then disappeared in the distance. He was moving so fast I doubt if he left footprints. I couldn't help but notice that the deer had been digging for food right outside my window. I guess I was hungry too, because the thought of coffee and toast with strawberry jam got me motivated to get up.
It is my habit to view the garden from the living room window while I drink my coffee. The scene was still grey silent and cold. But then I saw a bird land on top of the birdhouse in the garden. With this much light I can't really see color in the distance any more so I put down my coffee and got the binoculars. There were two birds in the garden and then to my surprise I discovered they were Bluebirds. The birdhouse in the garden is a wren house so they looked it over, but the entrance hole is too small for them so they lost interest quickly. They flew from post to post in the garden for awhile and then flew away. I saw them again checking out the Bluebird nest boxes that I can see from my kitchen window. Wow! Feb. 16 marks the first Bluebird sighting of 2019 in the Stone Wall Garden. They really do make me happy and if they can take the cold and snow, so can I. It is still February after all.
Later, Ed and I walked down to the mailbox. I hoped that we would see the birds again. After all we have Bluebird accommodations down by the road too, but they were nowhere to be seen. Still that little spark of Bluebird happiness made my day.
I got so excited by the prospect of spring and the garden that I watered my pet moss. This is how it looks dry. Tomorrow when it is good and wet we will take a closer look!