Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Eyes for Spring Changes

It's funny, but many times when I sit down to blog, I don't really know exactly what I want to say, but I know that something is percolating that wants to break forth.

Today is a day like that.

I'm seeing the Kansas spring with new eyes this year, having been away for 6 years. Somehow even normal changes seem fresh, different, and rather miraculous for me right now.

We're into that part of spring where you can see daily changes whenever you go outside. The forsythia is beginning to bloom. (Remember to put that corn gluten down to keep summer weed seeds from becoming viable plants in the lawn!) The lilac leaves are visibly larger each day and the buds for the blossoms are easily visible, although they seem ridiculously small. My unknown maple trees are leafing out too, as is a mystery shrub by the forsythia. (Weigela?) Some of the willows around town are leafing out, but my black willows aren't showing green yet. Of course, the buds on my Bradford pears are swelling visibly each day.

Side note: Yes, we are the "proud" owners of 3 Bradford pears. Ironic, isn't it, for those of you who know my longstanding opinion of that particular variety/species? Why couldn't the prior owners have picked redbuds? They bloom at the same time of year, they have a beautiful branching structure, they do well here, and they're actually native. But there's evidently something about green lollipops on sticks....

We're noticing spring's arrival within the animal populations too. Prairiewolf called me outside early yesterday morning to listen to turkeys gobbling in the riparian area across the road. (That's got him all stirred up - the hunting gear is being gathered and the turkey calls are out for some serious practicing. He's assured me that he wouldn't hunt that close to home, though.) From the draw, spring peepers are serenading throughout the day and night, whenever the temperature is high enough. In fact, the entire early morning symphony yesterday was superb: the turkeys, the spring peepers, a couple cardinals singing lustily nearby, flocks of redwings in the slight distance, and a multitude of other birds greeting the day whose calls I couldn't tease out from the chorus.

The killdeer have come back, and there is a small flock of cedar waxwings grazing on something in my trees. (Cedar "berries", perhaps? I have no crabapples in this yard.) Grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and cowbirds are mobbing the feeders throughout the day lately. A small flock of gulls went overhead yesterday, but I couldn't make out enough fieldmarks to identify them and they flew silently. (Not that I'm good enough to I.D. gulls by their vocalizations anyway!)

On a smaller scale, the boxelder bugs have been congregating for weeks in the warm, southwest-facing nook of the foundation. A few moths are being drawn in to the lights at night, and I thought I saw a couple small ichneumon wasps clinging to the back screen the other evening. Of course, the real sign of spring is that we've started to bring home ticks from our walks through the "back 5". THAT's a portion of Kansas life that I certainly didn't miss down in Mobile.

Bear with me, please, as I document all of these normal spring changes. I'm really enjoying the experience of full seasons again.

No comments: