Cleaning up the back yard

The front yard is still under its blanket of fallen maple leaves, and the stalks of last year’s phlox and other plants are still standing. But in the back yard I spent time yesterday with the rake and nippers and most of it is now cleared. Here is the pile of leaves and stalks that I created but haven’t disposed of yet:002That will just get picked up and tossed over into the brushy area between the two driveways. Now that we have the deer fence all around the back yard it is a little more tedious to do that. Here is the back yard this morning:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????It is mostly browns and tans now, but there are some colorful spots:

Glory-of-the-snow or chionodoxa

Glory-of-the-snow or chionodoxa

And some of the peonies are coming up, with their pretty red stalks:???????????????????????????????Some daffodils are blooming, but most are still just budded. In the photo below there are lots of daffodil clumps and some tulips.???????????????????????????????The garden is in pretty good shape this year, in terms of grass and weeds that need to be removed. But it is the end of the semester and concert season as well, so there are things competing for my time. I saw a young ground hog roaming through the garden the other day–I hope she or he eats the weeds! Mostly they love violets, which is fine because we have lots of them.

suddenly summer!

Well, it felt a little like summer yesterday. The weather was so mild, in the 70s, with sunny skies and a breeze. Crocuses showed their cheerful faces:???????????????????????????????And I was very happy to get out rake and garden bucket and clear out/weed the sandy bed. While I was working a cow had her baby! A little black calf with a white face. Adorable!???????????????????????????????Inside, the hibiscus is so glorious I just had to take pictures.???????????????????????????????I’m really enjoying the hori-hori garden knife I got from Prairie at Christmas. It has a wicked edge on one side, though, so you have to be careful. David took a picture of it in action. This was tricky because the little tulips have come up through patches of grass, and it took surgery to get the grass out without disturbing the tulips. Happily, last night we got some rain, to settle the tulips I had to pull up and reset.???????????????????????????????

Soggy and chilly, that’s it in a nutshell

We’re in mud season for sure. We went for a walk around the Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area yesterday. Not a lot going on there wildlife wise. We saw several very big and apparently active beaver lodges, but no actual beavers. We spied a bald eagle and a northern harrier hawk hunting, and saw some gulls, Canada Geese, a nuthatch, crows, and robins, but the big gathering of geese has not happened yet. And the ground is half-frozen and soggy, the ponds ice-covered, with wet snow and ice on lots of the trails. upper and lower lakes roadIt was still a beautiful day to be outside. It was breezy and chilly but a little above freezing,  and so little streamlets of water were flowing everywhere. The Grasse River was high, carrying a few small “icebergs” in its brown rushing current. ???????????????????????????????Back at home I planted delphinium, zinnia, and sunflower seeds. ???????????????????????????????And David transplanted the peppers. So, I guess gardening season is here, inside at least!garden april 3 003

Spring emergence is underway

Patience is required at this time of year around here. We all exchange news about the birds: I saw a robin, I heard a red-winged blackbird, I heard Canada geese, I saw a great blue heron, etc. Lately skunks, porcupines and racoons are active again. Wild turkeys are in mating season, to judge from the puffed up displays of the toms. The cows in our pasture are calving, and the horses Casey and Fly are shedding. In the garden, banks of soggy snow remain but they are dwindling.

snowdrops

snowdrops

here come the daffodils!

here come the daffodils!

tulips

tulips

front yard

front yard

Inside, the seedlings are growing robustly and will soon be transplanted into larger pots.

peppers and parsley

peppers and parsley

onions

onions

Tater relaxing on his blanket

Tater relaxing on his blanket

The wood for next winter arrived the other day.

next year's firewood

next year’s firewood

The little plastic hippo and goat survived the winter–I forgot to bring them in for the winter, and I discovered them as the snow retreated.???????????????????????????????