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About Time - March 2012

When the snowstorm blew in on March 21, it was deja vu all over again. I wanted to gather specimens for my annual moss class and I was stuck inside. On March 11 last year I got stuck in snow on the road up to Roman Nose while hunting class material. It’s an object lesson that global warming means climate change, not just warmer and drier. Drowning worms in gutters give witness to near record rainfall.

So, when can we safely plant out tomatoes and peppers? The old calendars are not going be reliable; we have to feel the air and plant when it feels right.

Although the daffodils were momentarily flattened, and plum trees all over town came down or lost branches, the woodland plants are slogging on. Spring beauty and osoberry are passing peak bloom while wild cucumber is reaching out to snag overhead branches with grasping tendrils. Bleeding heart should be blooming in the next three weeks.

Sunny days being so rare, I love hearing the chickadees singing their breeding territory song, “chick a dee dee – please come to me.”

Down by the ponds the ducks seem to be getting more restless. The grebes and cormorants dive if they think I am looking at them. The shovelers are as shy as ever. Unlike the mallards that come close to beg for food, shovelers paddle away when I show up. The shovelers seem to say, “Stay away, I will be leaving soon.” I am going to miss them.