Monday, May 19, 2014

Various signs of spring

Spring is slowly flirting her way across the countryside. The red maples are gracing us with a delicate tracery of reddish leaves that will turn deep green before I can turn around. And here at the part of the property that fronts on the county road I'm also discovering other plants that I couldn't identify when they were dormant. The white flowers belong to an elderberry bush.

Having had one leaning across the open door of the drive shed at my former home, I finally recognized the bush when the bunches of tiny white balls began to open - aaaahhhh - elderberry... not that I'll get a chance to pick them and make wine... The birds love these berries and make sure that the bush is picked clean as soon as the berries go from green nobs to red.

 Then there is the nest - snuggled tightly onto the hydro wires that run from the pole near the deck to the barn. Good thing they're turned off is all I can say. I think this is a robin's nest - they usually aren't the most tidy builders and I've seen many a robin chirping away and then listening for worms...what amazing ears they must have to hear those creepycrawlies winding their way just under the surface of the lawn. And the reddish orange leaves of a red maple stand out nicely against the weathered silver barn board. And I've found shells from at least three robin eggs and two from a starling - but that's another story.
 Everywhere, in the grass, among the dried leaves from last fall, in the gardens that are starting to show me what's in them and what's needed, are lovely purple violets... of all flowers, except for trilliums and dog-tooth violets, these to me are the first signs that spring might really be here.

And then there are the birds... these two - a young Baltimore oriole waiting for me to put out some more slices of orange for him - he's not about to eat the pulpy white he's strewn beside himself over the back of the chair, and on the red sunflower seed feeder (a wonderful gift from a friend) a female rose breasted gros beak. The two have partners and also friends. There are now three male rose breasted grosbeaks and two females, and at least two female orioles and two breeding males, with one or maybe two yearlings visiting several times a day. Great fun to watch.
Of course these two join me and love to watch as well. They are lying on a rough, home-made cover to the cellar entrance.

There was once an earthen floor and crawl space down there, with easy access from outside. In more recent years someone changed the house, added the kitchen, put in stairways both up to what must have been a loft 200 years ago, and down to the "basement"  or root cellar and put in a cement floor - which they immediately had to break up in certain spots and put in a drain.... Very damp most of the time, and I imagine filled with water before the drain and broken up cement.... I guess those who did that, didn't know about living on the side of a hill without good drainage around the house.

Even the barn floor was ice-covered this winter, with no animals in the barn and no one parging the beautiful stone worked foundation. It was a hard winter. No wonder spring is taking her time.
And a blue jay drops by to remove the last crumbs of suet and with a loud shriek lets me know that I need to get more. I've learned that orioles like suet as well. They have been hanging onto that particular feeder quite regularly. Who knew?

Finally Spring. Well sort of. Today it's grey and cool and looking like rain, then flashes of sun, then grey... and - well what can I say? Spring is a flirt!


  1. A wonderful post. I love to see how spring unfolds in other locations. You have many of the same plants that we have in western New England. Some very, very nice photos here Barbara! Thank you.

    1. Thanks WildBill for dropping by and for your kind words. Spring is my favourite time of year - and I love sharing it.