Friday, March 24, 2017

Four days into official spring (the equinox came and went while I was in Atlanta, where spring is much further along than it is here!), we have one nice, warm day before we go back to chilly for the next week.  The frogs are taking full advantage, singing their comb-plucking song loudly in the wetlands.  
Here are other things I noticed:
Forsythia is blooming:
The pussy willow catkins have greened up with pollen: 

The Siberian elms are flowering (I know, the photo is terrible.  They're high up; I'm short.)  This is the first step that will lead to me pulling tons of tiny elm seedlings from all over my yard later this year.  Yea.

Cornelian cherry dogwood flowers have bees buzzing all around them -- I managed to get one in a picture!

And, at some point recently, the "pine" tree (it's not a pine but all the kids call it one, I believe it's a spruce) at the old homestead nearby has fallen over.  This large tree marked the site of the front yard of an old farmhouse that was razed in the 70's.  The tree was a favorite of students, so it's sad to see it fallen!  RIP, spruce/pine tree.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

OOPS!

I just went to post some updates from today (3/24), and saw this in drafts... It was from 3/13.  My bad!  I thought I posted it... I'll just pre-date the post. 

At any rate, on 3/12 night through 3/14, we got quite a bit of snow.  After no measurable snow in January or February, we got snow AND cold as March moved in.  FUN!  So here's a photo from then... 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Purple Post

We are in the midst of 3 (so far) days of incredible, relentless wind.  And by incredible, I mean it is literally hard to actually believe that is has been this windy for this long.  Makes being outside rough.  
Still, finally got out for a walk yesterday afternoon and discovered these new flowers:
Iris
Scilla

Spring is marching on!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

In like a Lion...

Happy March!  

I spent a lot of time looking down today on my walk.  There were several reasons for this.  First, it was extremely windy and also spitting rain.  Also, last nights torrential rains and thunderstorms left puddles to avoid and also WORMS! all over the pavement.  Definitely something to avoid, as a person.  I did enjoy watching 2 robins hop around and pick them up, though. 

Looking down, I got to see a lot of bulb plants poking their foliage up through the soil... The rounded still fingers of daffodil leaves, the wide pointy tulip leaves... Every yard has its signs of spring emerging.  Still, I was pretty surprised to see this actual purple crocus poking through!  (This same yard had many purple and a sprinkling of yellow crocuses, all in this stage of bloom.)
At one point when I did look up, I was taken by how much the aspen catkins had changed in the past few days -- and how wet and sorry they looked, like a soggy dog!
BTW... glad I got out for a little walk before this happened:
This was the afternoon view out my office window... thick, whirling, swirling snow.  I guess Baba Marta has some dirty carpets.  (Explanation: today at school we celebrated Baba Marta day, which is a Bulgarian holiday to welcome and encourage the start of spring.  Grandmother March is very temperamental and gets angry or sad and then happy as the March weather quickly changes.  We were told than when it snows in March, that's Baba Marta cleaning the dust out of her carpets.  We all learned something new today!)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

It turns out...

...it is actually still winter.  We didn't get a lot of snow, but significantly, it was cold enough for what we did get to stick on the ground for a while.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

More Flowers People Ignore

Actually, this catkin -- which is a pussy willow -- is the one catkin people don't ignore!
Today the American Hazel catkins are starting to loosen up!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Flowers People Ignore

Many trees and shrubs flower well before they leaf out, and most people don't notice it happening at all because the flowers are often small and/or green and/or lacking in petals.  I reported on a couple yesterday, and there are a few more that will be popping tomorrow or the next day, but here's today's batch:

Alder catkins were tight brown clusters yesterday, but today were significantly swollen and dangly with their green pollen showing.  Unfortunately, it was a pretty windy day and things that hang down to catch the wind are not easy to photograph up close in those conditions, so here's a further-out view:
This tiny and vibrantly pink thing is the female flower of the American hazel.  Though it's brightly colored, they are only about 2-3 mm in size, so get little notice.  (The male flowers are catkins, smaller and lighter-colored than the alder ones, but otherwise similar.  Generally speaking, they and the female flowers bloom around the same time within a population, but NOT at the same time on a single shrub, so as to increase genetic variability by prohibiting individuals from pollinating themselves.  In the cluster of 6ish shrubs that I passed, I found female flowers, but no catkins had swelled/released pollen yet.  Usually you see that first, but... I guess the ladies are going to be lonely for a little while!  Or perhaps there's other hazels nearby to pollinate them.)
PS -- It's supposed to get all cold again tomorrow.  It's come to that -- a predicted high of 46 deg. in February is what I consider "all cold" -- 32 on Saturday, though.  That's actually wintry!