Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Glimpses of Spring

The first firefliy of the season was sighted a few days ago, right on schedule compared to last year.

A wren built a nest in a bag of waste wool in the barn. We think the dog tore it all up, but a wren is carrying worms to some cheeping thing hidden somewhere near the tool shed, according to J and A.

I watched a thrush on a dead branch near the garden for a while this morning. S/he watched me squatting in the garden.

We put seeds in the ground and less than a week later they are up. Of course, the weeds are growing just as fast...likewise the grass. But we are actually getting the upper hand here, and the garden looks WAY better than ever before. Planting marches on, several beds a day.

We clipped the feathers on the hens' wings tonight, because one hen (the white one with reddish blush on her breast) keeps jumping up on top of the shed and then working her way onto the top of the fence and flying out into the garden. From past experience, this probably means either the sun is beating too fiercely into their little shed in the morning, or she is trying to hide a nest to hatch somewhere. But we certainly don't want her in the garden! J and A put up a shade cloth over the front of the chicken house.

A friend offered for us to dig wild gooseberry bushes in his woods, and J (who LOVES gooseberries) went and dug with a passion. We now have a 75 foot row of gooseberry bushes! We have assured J that we will airmail gooseberries to him next year if his Master's program keeps him in the East. Gooseberries should ship well.

But--the special mulberry tree behind the brooder house is loaded with tiny green mulberries, getting bigger each day, and J is looking forward to picking them. We'll get him hooked on those, and he'll HAVE to come back--they are so fragile, shipping would be out of the question.

It's a bountiful year for 4- and 5-leaf clovers, all over the farm. A hint of 2-4-D in the air, perhaps? Or just an odd season? Someone at Farmer's Market said they had been finding an unusual number, as well. It has been a bumper crop year for dandelions everywhere, too.

Someone commented that their carrots weren't germinating well. I noted that the volunteer carrots from last year's carrot flowers were just starting to come up. When I mentioned this to another Farmer's Market friend, he said that he'd talked to a fellow market gardener who had been monitoring soil temperature. Between late winter and mid-April, the soil temperature actually DROPPED 5 degrees due to a string of cold nights. Other growers have commented that things are generally 2 weeks behind.

No June bugs yet, at least...when I searched the blog for last year's firefly date, I noticed that we'd had june bugs in April. I did find two Colorado Potato Beetles today, though--hopefully not a sign of things to come.

Several of the praying mantis egg cases on the desk in the barn have hatched recently, since the barn is a good bit warmer than outside. It is always fun to see the tiny babies scurrying around. Not sure why, but they remind me of baby guppies.

And so forth. It's the season at the farm where just a moment of stepping outside on a softly drizzling evening, or a market morning at dawn when the birds are just plumb shouting, is somehow worth everything.

Someone said the other day, "It's Eden!" as they looked around at the green grove that had sprung into lovely leafiness in just a week. And so it least a glimpse of Eden.

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