Bang! Saturday, Apr 29 2017 

The rain followed by the heat has made everything pop up at an unbelievable speed (including the blackflies), which is lovely. Well not the blackflies.

You can almost see things growing at this point and blooming. Especially our various woodlands plants that are pretty good at fast growing when there is the right combination of rain and warmth. Ferns, for example, can come up very quickly. Odd things ferns, I’ve found that they really don’t transplant well at all. But they are incredibly tough and long lived if they are happy where they are. I suspect we often underestimate just how old ferns can get. I know the Interrupted ferns under the house’s bay window are in pictures from a century ago. Some of the fern species, those included, have gone from invisible to uncurling in a matter of days, which is quite a bit of energy when you stop and think about it. Plants are amazing.

Found it! Tuesday, Apr 25 2017 

The project of wandering about in the woods looking for things continues. Especially looking for wells.

The one above is easier to find than….

This one….I suggested we might fill this one in.

What is blooming? Sunday, Apr 23 2017 

Been awhile since I posted one of these! Daffodils of course, by the hundreds. I moved a few around yesterday in the rain. There are some late, pale yellow, very delicate small cupped ones I would like to get spread about more, an old variety.
My mom’s Home Depot Cherry Tree. Which against all odds when I planted it (no root ball) has flourished. This year it was a lovely lace of white reaching high up against the evergreens.
The shadblows are just starting up. The blue scilla is carpeting bits of lawn here and there, where it likes it, thank you very much. With the sun today, the little native trout lilies (bells of yellow) will be out.
The two peach trees are just loaded with blossoms this year, those will be clouds light pink by tomorrow. Meanwhile the redbuds (especially the big one, which now has multiple posts to support it) will be bright pink.
And the grass is absolutely emerald green.
April is always nice. But so fleeting are some of those, one is loath to lose even a day or two away.

Daffodils Thursday, Apr 20 2017 

For once this is a decent year for them. As it is for the forsythia, which had failed completely for three years running. We had a brief spike of very hot and dry, but now at the height of their flowering and growing season it is moderate and cool. And the rain, while not much, is enough for them. Timing is everything. Next week looks to be drier, but hopefully not too hot.

I should go out there and mark the clumps that absolutely need division, i.e. essentially no blooms, come to think of it. I don’t want to do it during bloom, but afterwards sometime in May, would work.  Any bets I actually do it? 🙂

Emerald Ash Borer Tuesday, Apr 18 2017 

Ever since the Dutch Elm Disease and the Chestnut Blight, eastern North American foresters have been anticipating the next one. There are two: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Emerald Ash Borer.

The former is established, but increasingly in New England it looks like it is going to be less of an extinction and more of an uneasy, armed truce. South of here, it is the complete destruction of a major forest type. A few degrees in temperature make all the difference. And it looks like some of the natural predators just might work…sufficient to establish a new equilibrium at least.

With the Emerald Ash Borer there is no respite through temperature. Unless they can figure out some predator wasps very quickly, ash is going to become a very rare tree rather than one that grows like a weed. It has spread from its introduction in Wisconsin, c. 2002, with frightening speed. Partially because the bug flies well, partially because people love their camp fire firewood, and they love to burn ash. Stop Moving firewood people!!

It really doesn’t matter how it got here, we knew it would, but I did not want to see this sight about two miles from my doorstep:

This was a very healthy ash, and one of five that we counted in less than an acre that were of that size (14 plus inches in diameter) and quality, all of which were clearly infested by EAB, plus uncounted ones beneath ten inches which were being attacked. All of them will be dead within a year or two. The blonde color is created not by the bugs, but by the woodpeckers chasing the hundreds of thousands of larvae beneath the bark. We should breed woodpeckers.


Oops Monday, Apr 17 2017 

There has been a lot going on, and really not much down time to write about it in.

Some random facts: you don’t cut Ash in the spring if you want timber from it. The water pressure in the cells (hydrostatic?) causes the wood to split (check) immediately at a cut point. Really immediately, like the trunk is already quartered half an hour after felling.

Why cut Ash in general in Connecticut? I’ll try to post the pictures this week, suffice it that the Emerald Ash Borer is about a mile from here and established.

Why cut Ash? It grows jolly fast, and in this case was crowding two Paper Birches we want to keep going for as long as possible.

Trees are always taller than you think they are.

Use your resources, if a tree, even if it is one you like, is extremely valuable timber, is doomed, and that amount of money it represents could be turned back into the place…consider doing so. No, this does Not apply to trees on the five acres around house. It does apply to some ashes down in the Spring Lot.

Balance: Is the tree particularly valuable as a wildlife tree? Is it a good seed source? Is it an important landscape feature? Is it just a cool, weird tree (cool weird trees are generally not monetarily valuable). If so…for heaven’s sake keep it.

Easter Sunday, Apr 16 2017 

Good Friday musical offering Friday, Apr 14 2017 

It is an awesome day and world out there, full of life and love, full of sorrow and of death.* The beauty seems all the sweeter for that, the agony and the ecstasy as has been said.

*Hate doesn’t fit in the slightest.

I am sure Wednesday, Apr 12 2017 

That you loyal readers are sick of my discourses on crocus. But, I still find them entrancing especially the white ones gleaming like chips of pure, thin marble in the new green grass. Only not like marble, but like white feathers or snow, a certain softness in the light and the breeze.

But, it is clear, the crocus to survive need to be in the hard packed earth of the pasture and the hayfield. The recently turned (all of five or six years ago) earth of the daylily bed is a sure death by rodents. The best, surviving crocus are those at the edges of the bed. Clearly, compacted ground doesn’t bother them in the slightest, which makes sense given their point of origin.

Spring Monday, Apr 10 2017 

must be on its way, my hands are like shredded sand paper, my horse is shedding all over me, the crocus are blooming, the daffodils are coming up, and the frogs are going at it in the pond. The rake and one’s hands are the most useful tools right now.

I really need to finish mowing the lower pasture, but I think I’ve got it to the point that the turkeys are unlikely to try to nest in it. Not that I would mind the turkeys nesting in it, usually I would encourage it, but this year is the year that it is getting something of a makeover if all goes to plan. And a turkey nest would be in the way.

I need to look into sprayers….

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