Monday, March 16, 2009


Long time, no blog.  Well, three days isn't that long, but I had been going crazy for a while there.

The weekend was warm and sunny enough for some major gardening initiatives to begin.  We're adding 2 new raised beds this year, and are eager to get them constructed.  It turns out, the ground is still completely frozen.  The new garden areas are in a bit of shade, which worries me for their planties.  But nothing we can do about that but try.  Even in sunny areas, the ground is still frozen after the first inch or so... although it's supposed to be in the 60s for several more days, so maybe soon...

Anyhow, I concentrated my weekend energies on cleaning up and trimming things back.  This gave me a chance to sit in the sun and clip clip clip for a long time, getting to see the plants and observe other things happening around me.  

Several single sandhill cranes flew over as I worked, their distinctive call giving away their presence long before they could be spotted (and sometimes in place of being spotted!)  A red-tail was also circling above me.  

Irises are sending forth their green shoots, as well as columbines.  Prairie smoke rosettes are looking vibrant, although I'm not really sure they've changed much.  And guess what else?  WEEDS.  Yes, while the prairie still sleeps, the weeds are getting their foothold in.  Sure makes me want to take a match to it!  

Dry kindling and strong winds have meant that prairies have burned naturally (or with the help of humans) since long before people began breaking it up and turning it into farmland.  Prairie plants are specially adapted to periodic burning.  Their biomass, at the burning time of the year, is underground, protected.  (A blaze that flashes by at 450 degrees F above the ground can leave temperatures completely unaffected just an inch beneath the soil!)  Some prairie plants have seeds that will lay in wait and not germinate until burned.  Any trees that grow in the prairie have thick bark that cannot be penetrated by the fire rushing by.  Weeds have no such adaptations.  Of course, if I killed their tiny tops now, the roots would stay alive and they'd re-shoot in a matter of days, but it would feel good.  And make the garden clean-up process ever so much easier. 

I also went to look at the silver maple buds again.  From even a few yards away, the look like huge red blobs -- how can those flowers not have started opening?  But up close, they look just like they did last week (see photograph below).   Spring is about waiting.  

Countdown to actual spring (as determined by equinox): 5 days!!!!! 

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