Monday, March 14, 2016
Season's First Ticks
There was an afternoon break in today's cold rain and a perimeter walk was in order. The lane provides a clear path and views of the changes that are happening daily. The red maple buds are showing red color and are swollen. Soon the trees will be covered with beautiful open flowers. They are small in size but their masses are impressive to see. Our neighbor was not pleased with the state of the buds. Their condition marks the end of his sap season. For the second consecutive year, unusual weather negatively impacted syrup production. Nights with below freezing temperatures followed by warm days move the sap up the trees and into collection buckets. That has not been our local conditions. Days of below freezing temperatures produce no sap. Nights of above freezing temperatures produce no sap. By today all of his collecting buckets have been removed. There is no market for syrup made from bitter cloudy sap.
Garlic planted near the back woods is up and looking good. My shredded leaf mulch is a little thin and will have no impact on controlling weed growth. Now that I have discovered that my hand mower has a collecting bag, I can easily make shredded leaves by the bucket. Next year my garlic will push up through a proper layer of leaf mulch.
When I came indoors after my walk, two deer ticks were discovered walking on my ungloved hands. This marks the beginning of the full body check season at the close of every day spent outside. Lyme disease is nothing to treat lightly. A former student was forced into disability retirement in his mid thirties by this disease. Our college librarian daughter worked with a student recently blinded by this disease. We continue to enjoy our time spent outside but undergo full body inspections daily. Ticks have been found attached to the most personal body parts possible. We did not include any tick photos with this post. You're welcome.
We drove to the top of the ridge for this picture. For the past several years a pair of geese have used this spot to raise their family. A sizable man made pond can be seen at the top of the photo but the geese nest amid the brush and trees. We have no way of knowing if this pair is the same pair that nested here in the past. We do know that these two have been on this water for the past several weeks. Once they were seen floating in a small patch of open water that was surrounded by ice. Soon only one goose will be easily seen as the other will be sitting on their clutch of eggs.
This is the season for an important period of March madness that is more useful than basketball. Breeding time is here for the wild animals. While I was walking the lane, two gray squirrels came charging in my direction. One was close behind the other and neither noticed me standing in the center of the lane. At the last possible moment one veered left up a tree while the other went right into the bushes. It is highly likely that after I had passed, they found one another and finished their business. Moments later two birds flying beak to tail passed very close to my head. The turn to avoid me was just a brief moment in their aerial dance. Spring might be officially a week away, but things are definitely heating up here!