Letter from Birdland: I believe spring has arrived early

Letter from Birdland: I believe spring has arrived early

Is it me or is spring early this year? Crocuses are blooming, of course, bunches of white and purple on my garden path, and one is the exact color of the yolks of my chickens' eggs, clusters in the bed on the south side of the house.

Bushes of lilac and ornamental quince are in bud, and the daffodil buds will burst any day now. I remember those coming in April for my grandfather's birthday. They are almost a month early this year.

Yesterday, Michael said, "We'll have to make up a new saying. The old one doesn't work: February showers bring March flowers."

My husband and I were taking a turn around the yard. I was admiring his job of trimming trees and ridding out the barn. We were planning our chores for the next weeks.

Patch up the holes in the aviary so the birds can go back outside.

Dig more topsoil into the flower bed so it drains away from the house.

Plant more peony bushes and sedum there.

Get two big pots to act as an entrance to the garden path. Michael has delegated this last chore to me.

"What kind of pots?" I ask. He is the artist of the family, so I frequently defer to his ideas about design. His answer was that it doesn't matter as long as I get two of the same, for balance.

We walked back to the old chicken coop, and I had to caution him not to step on the tiny seedlings of poppy. That is his special bed — a circle of fuzzy, saw-toothed leaves that send up curving stems with a bud that breaks in two, like an egg, to reveal a scarlet-orange fringe of petals. The flowers are delicate and bloom only for a few days but throw the yard into such a mayhem that you can see the color from the cemetery up at the corner.

Right now, the leaves are just poking out of the ground, and it's usually me who needs a reminder not to trek across the bed on the way to feed the chickens. Now he steps back, and I point out how the circle has widened again, as it has every spring, going from about 4 feet across when we first moved here to more than 20.

The days are damp, and the dogs will muddy the floors when we go in. But the breeze is warm, and the grass is a bright, spring green.

Since hurting my knee, I'd fallen out of the habit of walking and riding my bike, but this past week, I put my bike rack back on the car and have been back to my old habits of parking a mile or two from my office and riding in.

And today the dogs were happy when I called to them, jangling the leashes. They came running, and we had a nice little walk. I think the exercise helps my knee, especially the biking, and I know it helps my spirits. I tell myself that fresh air is medicine, especially with the daylight stretching out longer into the evening.

Cullen, the brown dog, who is brown to the very tip of his nose, seems to have settled down a little. We have been keeping a very close watch on him, lest he wander.

For the past few months, we've not let him outside unattended for more than five minutes, but in the past week, we've tried, just for an experiment, leaving him alone in the yard a little longer, and he seems satisfied to watch over his own domain.

Where he used to take off after a herd of deer and be gone for the rest of the day, coming back at dinner time full of burrs, now he just goes out back behind the garage and watches the edge of the woods. Or he'll go down to the grass waterway and sit, coming back as soon as I call. Perhaps, like me, he is becoming a homebody, content to poke around the yard. Oh, he enjoys our long walk, but when we come home, he dozes in the sun.

Bloom in beauty; blossom in peace; blessed be.

Mary Lucille Hays lives in Hartland near White Heath. She is interested in the way the spring comes every year — exactly the same and completely different. You can read more of her writings and see photos at http://www.letterfrombirdland.blogspot.com. Mary can be reached at letterfrombirdland@gmail.com or via snail mail care of this newspaper.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (2):People, Gardening