One of the main reasons for my starting this blog was to chronicle what was going on in the yard at different times of the year. I began a year ago and my first post on the state of the great outdoors was on the first day of spring 2013. I had mentioned that the daylilies and daffodils were poking their greenery up through the leaves in the flowers beds and commented that I’d have to get out there and start raking those beds very soon before the flowers emerged much further.
The first day of spring 2013, however, brought a surprise with it….we had some light snow overnight and the ground and trees glowed in the morning sunlight. The snow didn’t last though, the ground was warm and the sun was strong and a day or so later that snow was gone and I did get out there and started cleaning out the flower beds.
Meteorological spring actually begins on March 1….March, April and May are the months that are considered spring. But today, March 20, 2014, at 12:57 p.m. EDT, astronomical spring begins for those of us on the east coast of the United States.
On March 5th or so of this year, I took the following picture out my back door:
There was snow everywhere that was over a foot deep that was frozen in place my the bitterly cold temperatures that marked the winter of 2013/14. The few resident robins had eaten every berry on every bush in the yard. I felt so sorry for them, that I went to the store and bought some fresh blueberries and threw them out across the frozen tundra. They rolled quite a bit and finally came to a stop, scattered here and there. The first customer I had was the Hermit Thrush, or “Long Legs” as I call him. He flew down, eyeballed one of those blueberries, stuck his beak in it, must have liked what he tasted, picked it up and flew away. Soon after the robins did the same.
The cardinals, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, white throats and assorted other birds sniffed around the berries but there were no takers. I hadn’t fed the birds over this winter…let them go up the street to my neighbor’s house…she’s got feeders. But now I felt guilty, so I bought some bird food and threw it out on that frozen snow. The picture above shows a robin to the upper right, some mourning doves, a junko, and a squirrel with his rearend sticking up while he was digging in a hole in the snow.
Normally by early March, I would see a chipmunk or two scurring back and forth by my back door. But I’ve never seen a chipmunk in the snow. I guess the aroma of freshly thrown seeds enticed the little guy shown above out of his burrow. I haven’t seen him since.
A night or two later, I had another visitor out by the back door… a gray fox. I’ve seen red fox around here, but not a gray fox. He, too, came to eat whatever remnants of seeds he could find.
I just went out the back door this morning (the first day of spring, mind you) and took the following photo…it shows the view to the right.
The snow near the house must still be about two and a half feet deep. This is what remains of the snow that fell when using the roof rake. There is a similar deep pile of snow all around the house. What are those dark specks in the snow? Could it be tiny pieces of the roof shingles that the rake brushed off along with the snow?
At least the front bench is visible again but the ground is still completely covered.
On to a more enjoyable subject, baking! I tried a recipe that I’ve had for many years but never made…this one for Irish Soda Bread (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day).
The sweet butter in this recipe makes this bread somewhat moist, not dry, like some soda breads. It is marvelous.
Although it is overcast and foggy this morning, the temperature here today should reach into the 50s. That frozen snow can’t last much longer. My posts will be more frequent now as the long, dark, frigid winter is behind us. I feel like the chipmunk must feel, coming out of the dark for a breath of fresh air and a look around. Is this miserable winter over with yet or what? Okay, I know there is at least one of you reading this that loves winter with the long dark nights, snow, ice and frigid temperatures. To each her own!