Tag Archives: daffodils

Monday: Report

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With less than two weeks before the official first day of spring, it seems to have arrived here on Beaver Island. After three sunny days, we had rain through the night. My sleep was sound, so I don’t know if it rained hard, or steadily or just off and on. I never heard thunder. Twice through the night, my little dog woke me to let her outside. Twice, I threw off the covers and stumbled sleepily to the door. When I opened it, I could see that it was raining. Rosa Parks poked her little nose outside to assess the situation, shook her little head “no, thanks,” and we went back to bed. So, it rained enough to keep the little dog inside.

It has transformed my yard from “endings of winter” to “definitely spring.” The snow is gone! There are three  curved ridges of snow left in the entire yard. A few tiny clumps still shine out from the woods. That’s it! Even the large, icy mound that the snowplow leaves, that gets packed together and frozen so hard it often stays until June…gone!

This overnight unveiling has revealed all the tasks left undone last fall, when icy winds and cold gave me license to put things off until spring. The last of the fallen leaves are now a sodden mess over large areas of the yard. Winter’s winds have done their usual job of shaking down the dead wood from my old trees. Picking up branches and hauling them to the fire pit is an almost daily task. Still, the snow melt shows all that I’ve missed. The grass, which never did get mowed the “one last time before winter” that it needed, gives a raggedy appearance through the leaves and twigs.

The garden, too, shows a wealth of sins. The raspberries need to be pruned, weeded and thinned if they are going to do well this year. The strawberry bed needs fresh pine needle mulch. Old vines, from last year’s tomatoes, squash and beans, need to be pulled out and hauled away. My compost barrel – which seemed like such a flawless idea when I started it – is full to overflowing. The last two times I carried out the little bucket of kitchen scraps, I had to use a five-gallon bucket as an annex, as the barrel was full. It may compress as it thaws, but it needs to be emptied soon. My wheelbarrows both need repair. The small one has a flat tire; the large one, a broken handle.

Spring fever, it seems, arrived at my house before the season. I’ve been dragging around for weeks, with never enough energy to accomplish all the things I wanted to. The worry of all the things not yet finished keeps me awake many nights, which adds to my exhaustion. Saturday night, we turned the clocks forward, so I’ve lost yet another hour. And now, with the melting snow, my list of things-to-do has quadrupled.

On the positive side, there are daffodils and tulips poking out of the ground in the flowerbeds that flank the kitchen door. The branches of trees and shrubs are heavy with buds that are almost ready to roll open into leaves or blossoms. The wild ramps are already showing green in the woods. The air smells fresh and clean. It’s a little bit early this year, but I think spring is truly here!

 

The 52 Lists Project #11

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List the ways you can rejuvenate your space:

  • Oh, fresh paint would be so nice! I think white this time, all the way through, ceilings and walls the same. Not stark white, though…white with just a touch of warmth.
  • Flooring, to cover the painted particle board that has worn to show the paths I take from room to room and that holds on to sand and spills in every crack and crevice. When it was first painted, it was a wonderful improvement over the plain particle board which, when it was new, was a huge improvement over the icy cold, cracked and chipped, painted cement slab, which was a slight improvement over the plain old unpainted cement slab that filled the air with cement dust every time I swept it…but I’d like a real floor. Because the floor is “on-grade,” meaning no air space below it, hardwood flooring is not recommended. Because it isn’t level, sheet vinyl or tiles would require the added expense of plywood under-layment. Because the house is small, I’d like the flooring to be consistent throughout. That means it has to be suitable for bathroom and kitchen as well as other living spaces. That eliminates many of the click-together floors that have an MDF base.Carpeting would never be a good choice for me: too much sand, too many spills, and I’d never want a carpeted bathroom! Because there are probably no options that I can install myself, I have to figure the cost of a contractor, too. All of these things are contributing reasons why I still have no real floor, though this house is more than thirty years old. It sure would spruce the place up! I’m currently considering vinyl plank flooring.
  • Light fixtures. Right now, in the living room and dining room, there are rims to light fixtures, but both of the globes broke, so the twisty compact fluorescent bulbs are exposed…and not the most elegant look. The entry has a different type of fixture. It’s globe is intact, but its rim has totally rusted out, a casualty of the many years I used an unvented propane heater. It caused every bit of uncoated metal in the house to rust: curtain rods, hinges, door handles and light fixtures. Even the refrigerator shows rust, under it’s  white enamel. The kitchen and laundry room have simple porcelain light fixtures that hold bulbs.
  • Woodwork. Baseboards where floors meet walls, trim around doors and closets and windows…that would really spruce things up!
  • I’m thinking of painting my front door some unexpected color, just to liven up the entry.
  • Outside, this year I’m going for bales of hay and a big load of mulch to get my gardens back in good shape. Mowing, trimming, weeding and pruning will help, too.
  • Beyond that, I bought a new used tablecloth at the re-sale shop last week.It is washed, pressed, and ready to go.  As soon as the weather signals spring, I am putting it on the dining table, along with a couple bright candles in clear holders and a bouquet of the earliest daffodils. That is rejuvenation at its best!

Spring is Here!

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Can you see it?

You have to really look for it, out here on the Fox Lake Road.

My yard still holds much evidence of the long winter.

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But this is Spring!

I can see it in the bare-earth muddy tracks in the driveway, that continue down my road and the next two…but then open on to the King’s Highway that is (I swear it!) bare pavement for the first time in months.

Inside, the heater is taking a rest, some days, when the sunshine warms the living space (I did not lose my home to the cost of heat!). A gigantic chunk  of snow and ice slid off my roof the other day (and the roof, now exposed, seems to be still intact!).

There is a small patch of bare ground outside the back door, reminding me of the chores left undone when cold winds and early snow interrupted. I could rake that little chunk of yard, and pick up the twigs, and have that one bit clear and all ready for the season.

If I look closely, in south-side corners and full-sun edges, I can see the daffodils pushing up through the frosty soil. I can see the leathery leaves, now, of five Rhododendrons that appear to have survived the Winter. My little cherry trees are loosening their branches, trapped so long under the deep snow, and lifting them up to the sunshine.

I have seen the robins outside my window. There is an old rotted log – too large to move – that sits at the edge of the yard. It must have insects in it, because the birds find it very attractive. Birdsong enlivens the evening air.

And the dogs know. The smells of Spring are out there, and they want to explore. A chipmunk (forbidden!) has started making his rounds of the yard and garden. The soup-like consistency of the snow will no longer support the weight of even my smallest dog, making chase impossible. Ah, well, there is a spot on the back porch where the snow has melted and the morning sun makes it warm enough for a dog’s nap.

And I know. From the lightening of my mood to the drag in my ambition, I recognize Spring Fever.

My friend Kevin (whose great blog is <www.nittygrittydirtman.wordpress.com>) said truly, “after all, little darling, in the words of Lennon, Harrison and McCartney, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter.”

Finally, Spring is here!

Spring

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Spring, at my house on Beaver Island, is a busy time.

There is a narrow window of opportunity – between the snow melt and biting black fly season – to get everything possible done in the gardens.

I used to say, “If I only had more time…”

I realize now, after a few free days that could have been dedicated exclusively to yard work, time is not the only problem! I’m no longer able to spend six to eight hours on my hands and knees tending flower beds. I cannot spend three hours with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, double digging each of my raised vegetable beds. How did I ever do it? I can’t do it anymore.Image

I’m aiming for one hour a day, every single day.

The temperatures have dropped again. Yesterday I worked outside in my parka and knit gloves!

I managed to remove leaves and pine needles from a bed of daffodils. That always reveals weeds and grass that have taken hold under the debris, so I dealt with that, too. Image

There is still so much to do!

Is It Really Spring??

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It certainly seems like Spring here on Beaver Island!

After a winter that was hardly a winter at all, we’ve now had several days in a row of unseasonably warm weather. Hovering near 70 degrees! I remember years when St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with a foot or more of snow on the ground. Today I worked outside in short sleeves!

My cherry trees have little nubs pushing out where the buds will be. Daffodils, jonquils, early tulips and even day lilies are poking up their leaves in my flower beds. I found this cluster of crocus in a sunny spot in the front yard, not far from a patch of snow.

The dogs believe that Spring is here. The melting snow opens up a world of new smells for them to explore. The warm weather brings out the chipmunks and squirrels to tease them. Just two weeks ago we had almost eighteen inches of new snow. Walks were slow-going, plodding and slippery affairs. Rosa Parks, pushing through heavy snow up to her chest, would sometimes give up and need to be carried. These warm days, though, she never slows down. She bounds through the fields and down the trails, circling every juniper and climbing every bank. Clover doesn’t even try to match her pace. Their tails never stop wagging!

Home from the walk, I tore into some yard work. After a year of neglect, a season under wraps and a month of high winds, everything needs attention. I picked up branches and twigs, and added them to the fire pit…waiting for a calm day to have a bonfire. I raked the leaves and cleared the weeds out of the two small flower beds on the south side of the house. I set up the lawn chairs. I put away the snow shovel (I don’t believe Spring is here to stay, but I do believe I’ll manage now without the snow shovel).

I hear warnings that the trees will bud too soon with all this warmth, and a killer frost will wreak havoc and the harvest will be ruined for the growers that depend on it. I hear that the danger of wildfires will be extremely high with the mild winter followed by such warm weather. I hear the lake levels will be down, with all of the devastation that brings, because of so little snow. And of course, Global Warming looms, a danger to all life. Should I hate this Spring day? Do I make any of this worse, by loving the weather? I don’t think so.

Since the weather will do what it will do, I intend to thoroughly enjoy this beautiful, serendipitous day!