Wednesday, April 10, 2013


You know that spring has sprung when the rains begin. You know the old rhyme; "April showers bring May flowers." But, these past two years or so, our spring rains have been sparse. Thunderstorms rolled in this morning, and now we're getting a good soaking. We had some rains over the weekend, too. We are cautiously optimistic that this drought we've been having is breaking.

Too late for my little shrubs, though. I bought three last summer that purported to bloom throughout the season. I bought them late, when they were on sale, planted them, and then the rains stopped. I mean STOPPED. We got no measurable moisture until some snow in January. I didn't expect them to survive, especially since, after the school year started, I was a horrible gardener and didn't water regularly. I will pay for it this spring, when I buy more of these shrubs at full price. (Which, at our local garden store, was higher than that price quoted on the link page!)

I also plan to plant some new trees this spring. Our tree-cutting work of a few weeks ago left us with the realization that we've cut far more than we've planted. I'm looking at blue spruce, white pine and sugar maples. And maybe a plum or two. I have seriously considered replacing ALL our apple trees with peach trees. Our little orchard is sadly neglected, with those apples getting very little pruning, and almost no spraying. It always seems that, when I have time to spray, it's predicted to rain the next day or so, so I hold off. Of course, with the drought I mentioned, I should probably spray; that would ensure rain! But I don't. And our apple harvest shows it. Granted, peach trees only make it 3-5 years here, but, if I replace an apple a year with a peach, we'll have a steady supply and less pruning/spraying. (No, I don't spray peaches, either. But the fruit harvested in much better than unsprayed apples) This is the peach variety I buy. It grows well in our yard, and the fruits are the large, running-down-your-arm-with-juice type that make the taste buds celebrate.

So I started talking about rain and ended up with juicy peaches. See the connection?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring, Actually

I've been seeing these fly over lately. I actually saw some on the ground about a month ago.

I love cranes. I was having a particularly rough late winter day about 20 years ago, and I prayed one of those desperate "Dear God, HELP!" prayers. I actually said, "Show me some sign that something good is coming." I walked out of the house a short while later and heard the beautiful call of a flock of sandhill cranes flying right over my house. I didn't know what they were, but I found out, and I learned that, although they themselves are not endangered, they can be used as foster parents for the chicks of whooping cranes, which are. They seem to fly over our area early in spring, serving as one of my harbingers of gardening season.

Speaking of whooping cranes, I was driving past some large farm fields last week, and saw what I thought were swans sitting in one. They were white birds with long necks, so I slowed down to get a better look. One stood up, and I realized they were cranes. I was still driving past, so I didn't get a terrifically clear view, but I am reasonably certain they were whoopers.

It was a small thrill for me to see them. One of their migration routes is right over our area, and we are about 2 hours south of the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI. I read an article about a news outlet that ran video of what they thought was a whooping crane, and they did say they were wrong, that there is a sandhill crane that is lighter than normal. But it has a red head, like the sandhill, and these birds had black on their heads. So they were whooping cranes. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Yeah. A crane geek. -sheesh- (Not to mention champeen-run-on-sentence-writer!!)

Last picture for you. I have been looking out my window for weeks now, and, suddenly, yesterday, I saw this.

Of course, that's not quite the view from my window. I grabbed a camera, ran out, and got down on the ground for this shot. I'm kinda proud of that shot. It may appear at the fair this summer.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy spring. I think I'll finally be able to get in the garden this weekend. If so, asparagus will be planted!! And lettuces. And whatever "cold weather veggies" the local garden shop meant when they put that sign up out front. I'll stop by on my way home, see what I'll have to plant tomorrow, and let you know then!