Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Air temperatures in the mid 40s F finally have the neighbor's maple sap running. A visit with a real tractor and its front mounted bucket cleared the plowed snow ridge at road's edge creating a solid support for the sap container. The level of sap in the can is minimal but at least sap is finally running. My maple trees are far from any road, surrounded by knee deep snow. Memory finds the smells of reducing sap over an open fire. It is a pleasant way to spend time outside at this time of year but age and the wisdom that is supposed to come with it dictates that some activities remain only as memories.
Mouse-eared chickweed is actively growing in an area that has been kept cleared of snow between the ramp and the car. Hairy edged leaves remind me of arbutus but it remains buried under deep snow. Seeds in a pod are from our locust trees. Weather favored the formation of locust flowers last summer. One of the last trees to leaf out here, it is frost sensitive. Usually late frost ends any chance for flowers. The pea like hooded flowers are deliciously scented and numerous seed pods scattered everywhere now remind us of that recent treat.
Most would likely see running water oozing from mud as messy. I found this delightful since as recently as last year this water was still running in the driveway. Adding gravel to the driveway and deepening the ditches is grunt work but we are making progress. The plan is to have the running water do most of the work. So a man of years drags his booted foot across the muddy grass creating a depression to contain the water. Some thought that I was simply playing in the mud.
Our truck is also driven in the ditch intentionally. As the ground softens, truck tires will squish out a decent ditch. Here again, it can appear that an older man is playing in the mud.
Our first patch of transplanted arbutus is located a little further up the hill to the left. Snow has filled their protective wire cage and then some. The notion of shoveling the snow away to reveal only the top of the cage has crossed my mind. Continued snow melt would then reveal the plants in a nearly natural way. That would give me an earlier peek at the plant's condition and speed up the opening of flowers. On this day I ventured into the snow just to test conditions. Stepping into snow deep enough to cover my knees made me abandon that fool's errand. Forced to remain patient, more of the snow will have to melt before I make my first visit of the year.