I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Friday, May 19, 2023

The glories of spring!

Friday May 19, 2023

What an absolutely superlative morning! It was a touch nippy earlier, but no frost last night. Yesterday morning there was a good frost that even made some leaves on native plants go dark and limp. 

There is a bit of breeze that keeps the black flies minimal, although the temperature is rising rapidly, and today they will be out in force.

All the apple trees are coming into full bloom, and the wafting breeze carries the scent of apple blossoms everywhere. 

Standing in any one spot in the clearing, and turning full circle, one can count 8 or more blooming trees, be they apple, or various wild cherry trees.

The buds on the vole-chewed crab apple tree are starting to open, their edges a little scarred by the frost yesterday morning,

and a big surprise, are the two little blooms open on one of the baby plum trees!

It is only slightly over waist high! Even the old, gnarly apple tree out to the west of the house is covered in bloom. Every year we cut off another dead branch. Even on this, an off year, the bi-yearly blooming and bearing big crab-apple tree has a few branches adorned with blooms. Standing close to the trees, one can hear the reassuring hum of pollinators. 

Bird song is everywhere, so intermingled, it is difficult to differentiate all the different species. The Black Billed Cuckoo was heard yesterday for the first time. A Northern Mocking bird was teasing us with his repertoire last night. A Baltimore Oriole showed up a few days ago, and has been hanging out around the clearing... maybe, just maybe he is claiming it as his territory...as he is singing from every quadrant. Is there anything prettier than seeing that brilliant slice of orange colour sitting in a blooming apple tree?

(Sorry for the fuzzy picture of him on the feeder)

Red-breasted grosbeaks are singing their operatic arias, and are also no slouches in the beauty department. At night, an owl has been landing on the trail camera aimed across the pond, and almost daily the camera is swiveled down, staring at the water instead of across it. Last night the owl left a calling card.

One can see the soft feathering at the tip, which enables an owl to fly silently.

I greeted the tree swallow this morning, as he was sitting on the clothesline close to the house. He nonchalantly lifted a wing and did a little grooming. They don't seem perturbed in the least, by our presence. The robin in the woodshed is sitting on eggs, and if I don't pause while walking by, she doesn't even fly out and chastise me.

The raised beds are ready for planting now, onion sets are in, as well as beets and some greens.

All the other spaces are marked out for where all the plants are going. This morning I planted my watermelon seeds into plastic baskets on my heat mat, where they will stay until sprouted.

Once it is warm enough to plant them outside, they will go into the soil, basket and all, as vine crops do not like their roots disturbed. The roots will push through the baskets and in the fall, the baskets can be retrieved and used again. My winter's accumulation of compost material has been shoveled out and re-layered, the thermometer showing a dramatic rise in temperature. By early June, a good shovelful of that warmth will go in each melon hill to hie them on their way.

The forecast shows only one more coolish night in the near future, so perhaps we are on our way to a beautiful, productive summer.


Friday, May 12, 2023

Spring stuff, and first harvests....

 Friday May 12, 2023

After the week of rain, the sun came out, the temperature rose, the excess water soaked away, and every growing thing went into overdrive. The world is green again.

In the woods, the orchids are poking up.

The red trilliums are blooming.

We found one morel...so far.

Lovely young, fresh stalks of rhubarb.


One morning a pair of geese were regally floating on the pond. Sorry...you have to go...
A robin has made a nest up on top of the last pile of wood in the woodshed by the house. Thankfully the heating season is pretty well over, so we won't have to disturb her.

 A pair of tree swallows have claimed the bird house mounted on the clothesline pole. The male guards the area and chirps encouragingly at his mate as she diligently gathers nesting material, and flies it into the box. Another pair of swallows showed up, the nesting pair put the run on them with a lot of bad language, then flew a chittering victory circle around the clearing and went back to preparing for their brood. Thankfully tree swallows only raise one brood per year, so once they fledge, I will be able to use my clothesline again. That box will be moved for next year!

Hummingbirds zoomed in Monday evening, vireos are here, yesterday I heard the first oven bird, and this morning the first chestnut-sided warbler was tuning up. Toads are trilling all around, and frogs are at full voice overnight. 

My grow table has been disassembled, the plants have had a week out on the verandah, and are now in full sun on the picnic table. They will come into the porch overnight if temperatures are forecast to go low. One of my baby geraniums has oddly put out one pretty flower.

A new to me plant to grow this year, is a ground cherry. The four seedlings are looking very robust and healthy.

Onion sets were planted yesterday. Other cool weather crops will be going in very soon. There are buds visible on some of the apple trees, and the baby flowering crab that was chewed by voles over the winter seems to be okay! It is leafing out, and there are at least 8 bud clumps on it!


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Making 'lemonade'.......

Wednesday May 3, 2023

It has been raining since Saturday.

Spring water levels from snow melt, plus all the rain has put the Ottawa Valley under flood watches and warnings.

We are sodden.

When life gives you lemons.....

So, I went for a paddle..... on the front lawn,

and then on the pond.

My daffs refuse to open until the sun shines again.