Friday, March 7, 2014
Clear blue skies and bright warming sunshine drew us outside this morning. Snow cover continues to be widespread and deep, filled with ice crystals that fail to support a human foot. The pictured sumac seed clusters did attract our first robin today. Natural winter bird food is a feature of this trash tree. We find its bright color spirit lifting during our barren Winter and the birds drawn to it are a bonus.
We cannot identify with certainty that the robin made these fresh tracks in the snow. A body impression in the snow near the fallen sumac seed cluster shows a table setting used for breakfast this morning. The red dots scattered about are from a meal taken at the top of the tree. If this day continues to be clear and warm, the lawn area behind the house that is kept plowed of snow will soften and we should see robins feeding there this afternoon. Any sign that this Winter is drawing to a close is welcome. Our current electric bill shows that February was seven degrees colder than last year and our electric consumption had increased by one third. We really need to see some Spring.
The return trip from the mailbox included a visit to the arbutus. Expecting to find only the protective cage and snow, seeing dark green hairy leaves was an unexpected surprise. Current plans are to try hand pollination this year as no seeds were produced last year. We will also try to get better pictures of the differences displayed by male and female flowers. Amy's camera and tripod will be borrowed for this attempt. Still, the problem of photographing the deeply placed white flower parts presents challenges.
My interesting stone collection located atop the stone wall leading to the basement has been cleared of snow. Dark colored objects absorb heat from the sunlight and this spot is the first to clear. These signs of sea life point to a far different landscape here in times long past.
This rather common looking piece of black limestone contains a real puzzle. Near the center is a thin structure filled with holes. The thinness is what puzzles me. It looks more like bird skin than coral or sponge. We plan to place this piece before the college professor and learn what he thinks has been turned to stone here.