This evening, I was walking across the yard headed to the compost pile, full bucket of kitchen scraps in hand when I saw the pile of poop a split second before I stepped in it. I twisted and hopped mid stride narrowly avoiding the pile. After dumping the bucket, I came back to inspect the scat. It was dark black or deep purple and full of tiny pale seeds. The pile was about as big as both my feet standing together, and bulging and curving with its randomly stacked curds. It has to be a bear that left this pile behind! I know they are around, but I haven’t seen one yet this year. Did the compost pile seem like something had been digging through it? Possibly. I remind myself to bring in the birds tonight. Yay! The bears are back too! I am thoroughly content with how Spring has sprung!
This morning when I stepped outside onto the porch, I noticed bat dropping on the wide rough boards under the spot where there is a deep notch in one of the roof beams. Looking up, I wait for my eyes to adjust to the dim light above me. There in the crevice, wedged in where no predator can get to it, is a tiny furry brown body, wings folded, eyes closed. A small sleeping Little Brown Bat. I like having these creatures taking daytime shelter on the porch. I think mosquito control! As I am examining the little bat, it shifts around a bit and I realize there are two Little Brown Bats nestled close together in that narrow dark space between the boards. Wow! Sleep well little ones, and may you fill your bellies with many biting insects and grow strong and healthy over the next few summer months. I am always excited when the bats come back.
Sitting on the porch in the evening, watching the sun sink lower in the sky, listening to the outside world wind down into the blue time. The song birds are making a last dash to the feeders before nestling into their nests for the night. I’m rocking and spacing out when a flash of red catches my eye, a red breasted grosbeak is sitting on the feeder, trying to munch seeds, black wings flapping to keep its balance on the swinging feeder. Looking down I find its mate brown and tan strips to blend into the background. As he thrashes on the swaying feeder, seeds rain down around her. She is content to peck them from the grass, while he puts on a hilarious show or flashing red black and white feathers. Eventually he find purchase and calm enough to crunch the black oil seeds open. I sit and watch them until they eat their fill and fly away into the twilight. Another sure sign of Spring being finally here to stay, now that the grosbeaks are back!
Fun trip down the River today, good group of people in my boat. Active paddlers with entertaining stories. We were near the end of the trip, floating along close to shore, relaxing, hanging out, when a loud rapid hollow knocking rang out from the trees, echoing across the river corridor. The pounding starts out fast and furious, then after a few moments, the intensity peters out. Half a minute later the knocking rings out again. My guests turn to me with a question on their lips, my eyes lights up as I smile with delight. I think its a pileated woodpecker! As the raft slid closer on the currents, the hidden bird took flight out over the open water right in front of us. We were entranced watching its characteristic wing beat pattern (flap, flap, flap, fold, dip, flap, flap, fold dip), large black and white body flashing in the sunlight, dazzling bright red head a beacon as it traveled to the tree line on the other side of the river. As it disappeared into the newly green branches, its playful laughing call trumpeted out like a monkey in the jungle. Everybody in the boat cheered with the sheer joy of experiencing a simple wonder of the natural world.
Minuscule light purple flowers growing in large fragrant bunched at the ends of leafy green branches. The lilacs are blooming! I smelled them in the moist morning air, so went out the end of the yard to check their progress. A couple of days ago, all but the two smallest trees had buds ready to burst open. Now they are opening and the breeze is full of the heady lilac fragrance. The purple flowers are one of my favorites. I pick a couple of small sprigs to bring in the house to liven up the interior. I don’t often pick flowers, because I don’t like to kill them, but I figured that the trees had many flowers and could spare a couple of small stems. The bees have found them already and are happily buzzing and pollinating. Another Spring miracle in progress!
Sitting on the porch, lazily rocking in my chair, gazing out across the yard and road, through the trees, over the creek, now hidden from view by new green leaves, enjoying the afternoon, listening to insects buzz. Feeling the heat of this spring day, the smooth caress of the gentle breeze, admiring the blue of the sky, breathing deeply, drowsing in a state of half consciousness. A tiny blur zings through my field of vision catching my attention and waking me up. It whirs by again, then stops suddenly in mid flight to check out some flowers on the porch. Hovering, wings humming, its ruby throat flashing in the sunlight against its iridescent green body. I want to jump from my chair in happiness, but I sit still and watch this amazing little creature as it dashes and darts around looking for nectar. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are back! Once it zooms away, I immediately go inside and whip up a batch of hummingbird food and hang the feeder. Spring is here to stay!
Delicate pale pink and white flowers precariously perched on slender branches. The faintest floral scent wafts among the long thin green leaves. The peach tree is blooming again. Spring is renewing all Mother Earth’s joyful pleasures. A few days ago a storm broke a large low branch which had fallen to the ground. I tried to remove it, somewhat mourning the loss of such a big piece of the young tree and noticed it was still attached. So I tied a rope in several spots along the branch to hold it up and support it. It seems none the worse for ware. The leaves are still green and perky, not wilted. The blossoms are still thriving and seem to be swelling at the base to make fruit. We’ll see if the impromptu brace works. Meanwhile, the peach blossoms are divine. Smiles.