Saturday, April 01, 2006


There are winter aconites, maple syrup, peepers and warm temperatures. But I don't truly feel like it's spring 'til I hear phoebes singing. I don't really listen for them, or expect them. Just suddenly one day, like yesterday, I hear them and think, "Oh, yeah. It's spring." I trust them 'cause they eat insects. The phoebe's appearance means that enough insects have appeared to support him. I guess it's really the insects I trust, but they're harder to notice. Early birds, early flowers may be mistaken. But that many insects can't be wrong. Granted we may still get hit with a late snow storm and the phoebes will be stuck eating berries for a day or two. But it's really spring.

So, I started spreading compost on the vegetable beds - at least as much as I could shovel 'til I hit the solidly frozen core. Then I turned to cleaning out the chicken coop - unused for about ten years. We were never able to trust the dog around poultry. But as some of you've heard, King died two weeks ago. My consolation is to be able to raise hens again. So I'll be getting baby chicks from Agway in a couple of days. Maybe I'm nuts to take this on again, but I like hens. And I love fresh eggs.


LauraHinNJ said...

Nice phoebe shot - love that you caught the yellowish cast on its belly!

Saw my first phoebe on Thursday - haven't heard them singing yet - only the mockingbird imitating him.

Also saw a pine warbler - they are difficult to get here - have to be lucky when they're migrating through. Most years I miss them.

Darlene said...

Hey, I just learned a new word--aconites (plants from the buttercup family). Now if my brain can just absorb it for later recall!

Same is happening here in Minnesota: Squills, the very first sign of spring, have their heads above the ground, as do my hyacinths and earlier-blooming tulips. Only one bulb came up last spring, and everyone I talked with said they had the same problem last year. Apparently it's because our winter wasn't wet enough.

Temperatures are slowly climbing. We, too, may still get hit with a late snowstorm, but the robins and musical house finches are back, the starlings have changed color, and there are juncos galore on the ground. Yes, it's really spring, in all its glory.

Wish I could see a phoebe; don't know if we get them here. If so, maybe they're just further up north. Thanks so much for providing the perfectly-detailed photo for us!

I bought a hyacinth to keep in the house (purple ones are the most fragrant), because when they bloom indoors, you can have the plant in one room and the fragrance will fill the house.

As soon as the rain stops and I can remove more leaves from the ground, I'm sure my hepatica and spring beauties will be above ground. They're both forest plants, and even though I've transplanted them into the city and they would get plenty of adequate sunlight, both are short-lived due to nature. After their short blooming period, they spread their seeds and immediately die back, before the trees can leaf out and make too much shade for them to survive.

My heartfelt, true, understanding condolences to you on your loss of King.