Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Everything's On The Move

It's been warm this week and after an inch of rain last night, a front pushed through bringing clear, dry air for the afternoon.  In the yard there are a few things pushing out, the blood root (above) started opening on Sunday along with quince and more daffodils.  The primroses open wider, making their Easter egg colors pop from the leaf litter, camellias continue and the plum trees (below) burst into bloom over the weekend.
In the veg garden the peas are starting to emerge and in the past week I planted carrots, beets and 200+ onion plants.  Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and basil are snugged up in a corner of the bedroom in flats sitting atop a heat mat and under a grow light, germination was very good this year, despite some seeds dating back to the late 90's and early 2000's.  I store the packets in the freezer in plastic boxes and they can keep for a very long time.

This afternoon while touring the yard together to see what was new and exciting, I said to David "Look at that snaky root over there"  and then together we said "That's not a snaky root, that's a rooty snake!"  On closer inspection, it was a good sized black snake, basking in the sun and looking gray like a tree root because it was probably about to shed.

Later I took a long ramble through the woods and saw more critters doing the work of spring.  The lowlands were pulsating with the songs of peepers and chorus frogs.  As I passed by the pond, mud turtles plopped into the water off their sunning logs and hung near the surface, enjoying the warmth of the water after crawling out of their muddy winter beds.  I stood for a while on the bridge where the water from the pond flows down a waterfall into a creek.  The overflow was running high from last nights rain, noisy, splashing over rocks and eddying into a swirling foam galaxy at the bottom of the fall before rushing on down to Morgan. 

In the woods and along the stream banks the trout lilies are peaking, and the dainty white spring beauties are also blooming now.  I heard a pair of red-shouldered hawks and looking up spotted them right above me, having a courting conversation and when  the male flew with pine needles in his beak I followed him with my eye to the nest and made a note of which tree top the platform of sticks was resting in for future observation. 
I roamed overland, climbing up to a high ridge line that I seldom visit because it's a steep climb.  I had the urge because I know that too soon the ticks will be out and I won't want to go off the trail. Cruising along I was startled when I came upon this BIG snapping turtle right in the center of the trail.
I spent some time with this girl?  I think so, obviously on the move in search of a mate and a place to lay eggs, she was quite a distance from the nearest pond.  Her shell was easily 12 inches long. 
I tossed this pine cone down as a measure, it is 4 inches, same width as her head pretty much.  I admired her eyes, elephant skin, snout and that beak of a mouth ( if you click on the picture I think you can zoom in).   I kept my distance, I have read that a snapper can reach their neck out 12 inches in a quick thrust.  And check out those bear like claws!

I relish this time of year when the sap starts to rise in all things living, myself included.

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