Posts Tagged 'spring'

Gearing up for spring

There’s snow on the ground, more forecast for later tonight. But… we have cut pussy willow branches in water, sitting on the kitchen counter (lovely fuzzy pussy “paws”)… and the Gardener says the forced bulbs should come up soonish. I’m looking at recipes for fastnachts and Jeck cookies. And there has been a little bit of prep for Valentine’s Day.

Once the sleet melts, maybe I’ll have a look outside again. But I’m uninterested in searching for anconites under the snow while sleet is still pelting down.

snow drops for hint of spring
The snowdrops aren’t here yet, but the yellow aconite is underneath sleet right now.

How about you? Are you in the mood for spring, or are you enjoying every second of winter sports and freezing ice in interesting shapes?

A Brief Dip into Interior Decoration

Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MDWhile it’s still too cold to go out and laze in the sunshine (brisk walks yes, but not sitting to sketch yet), I’m doing a bit of fantasy interior decoration. Current ideas: get taller bookshelves to take the place of the smaller shelving units crowding the floor space. I think (maybe) we could sneak the roll-top desk into the living room if there were fewer bits of furniture.

Unclutter, neaten, straighten. Go one step forward, and then regroup with the vacuum cleaner. Get out the graph paper, and work out where to move what we have.

So far, I’ve only begun vacuuming and laundry. Probably that’s as far as I will get today (beyond the graph paper). Once the gale is done, I will get outside again. In the meantime, sieze the day and grab a broom.

And when it gets too dark to see the dust, I suggest browsing the Ikea site, or daydreaming about scenes like this:

Book and Bed in Tokyo

https://inhabitat.com/book-and-bed-offers-a-novel-lodging-experience-for-readers-in-tokyo/

Beautiful University Libraries

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/stunning-university-libraries-slideshow

 

Spring driving

When winter is nearly over, and spring is starting to bloom or leaf out, I like to vary my commutes so I can take advantage of the sunshine and see a bit of the countryside before I head back to the city. This evening I drove through the hilly valleys where there are state parks and many, many farms with white farmhouses. Some homes had bunting on their gates for St. Patrick’s Day (not sure that was the goal, or it’s a reference to Easter?). A few have egg trees, one house has a northern magnolia in bloom and another has very early forsythia.

And in one place, near where a creek bed snakes along the road, and there’s a small pond, I could hear the spring peepers. I talked about them last year too. Their song is one of the mysterious gifts given to us living on the east coast of the USA. I’ve heard them up in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont. As a city dweller, when I hear them, I’m enchanted. People who live near them during the entire spring peeper mating season may have different reactions, since they can get quite loud.

In my yard, I have an egg tree set up (plastic eggs hung by wire from a miniature magnolia), and underneath it there are mini daffodils and crocuses blooming. Truly lovely. Maybe we’ll have a day without fog and rain when I can take a picture.

So, any detours that invite you when springtime arrives? Or are you more likely to do small auto trips in autumn, to enjoy the cooler weather? It will be cold again by the weekend, so I’m trying to soak up as much sunshine and warmth as I can before then.

 

Cat news, of varying sizes

Five kittens were born (very early, apparently) underneath the porch at the corner of Church and Graveyard. The Gardener has been posting their pictures over here. It was quite a relief to have something nice to look at last week, other than depressing news about the inhumanity of man. The kittens have now either gone to friends, or gone to the kitten adoption group. Yes, we will bring one home a bit later — and then I’ll go bonkers with the phone camera.

The amount of nursing these little guys got was somewhat amazing. One of the local (fixed) male cats sat in front of the porch, and retrieved them when they strayed into the street overnight. We started feeding them the minute we realized that their mother probably had abandoned them. Friends came over. Even Leia, the disaffected Himalayan-Persian mix looked at them, and instead of saying “why”, she tried to get closer as though they were the most interesting things she wasn’t allowed to get near. She’s been semi-regal lately. A far cry from when we first brought her home. Remember this one?

The Eyes of Reproach

The Eyes of Reproach

She’s still thinking outside the box of course. Not everything can be roses and catnip.

Lathyrus latifolium – wild sweet pea blooms

wildflowerssweetpeaWhen visiting the US National Arboretum, I stumbled over patches of spring ephemerals (spring beauties, wild violets) and then a patch of hundreds of what looked like sweet pea blooms or rogue snap dragons. After looking through the US Wildflower database, I ruled out rabbit-pea/goat’s rue (Tephrosia virginiana), round-leaved tick trefoil (Desmodium rotundifolium), and crown vetch (introduced). I think it’s just wild sweet pea blossoms (Lathyrus latifolium). What do you think?

Spring has sprung

There are slow motions toward spring cleaning. Emphasis on the “slow”.

It’s hard to work up enthusiasm for cleaning while the outdoors is so beautiful….

Blooms at the arboretum

Blooms at the arboretum

We went to the US National Arboretum last weekend, before the weather turned cold again. There were so many people hiking, basking in the sun, and taking photos. The azalea gardens are a great draw, and they have already started.

We did not see the latest attraction — the bald eagle’s nest — because the roads were closed off to pedestrians and cars, to protect the new pair. It’s been about 70 years since there was a nest at the arboretum, so they’re being quite thorough (including volunteers guarding the roadways to keep us tourists out).

The bees made up for no sightings of eagles on wing. I caught a photo bee-2015-natlarboretumof one in the ornamental quince bush in the Chinese gardens.

Spring peepers – the Chorus Frog

During a meeting late this afternoon, I could hear spring peepers in the background. The chorus started as a coworker droned on into the dinner hour over his slide presentation that may have been of interest to me*, but I just got distracted.

I began mentally estimating how many spring peepers can support themselves in the drainoff “pond” in the mist of the section of the office property with trees on it. And also, what does it sound like when everyone in the office park leave and the spring peeper chorus really gets started? Their song is a true sign of spring. The crocuses are also finally blooming in the front yard, so I hope that soon it will be time for afternoon walks again.

[Link to the sound here.][Link to the Department of Natural Resources article about the Northern spring peeper here.]

*Or it may not have. I’ll leave it a mystery.


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