We have had solid snow cover for the past 36 days and more snow days before that. Yesterday it warmed up above freezing and the snow is melting. I have been noticing small signs that spring is headed our way here in the Midwest.
Snow crocuses poking through the snow pack.
After some snow melted the snow crocuses looked like this yesterday. The purple, yellow and white flowers coming soon are so small, but I will be looking for them.
Mini daffodils finally showed up when the snow melted yesterday near the south facing fence.
The sparrows are getting more interested in the birdhouse again, though no nest material is inside yet. All the nest material is still covered with snow. Unfortunately for the sparrows, this is supposed to be a bluebird house, so any squatters will be evicted.
I noticed a flock of robins fly in one day. I counted at least 25 on this picture.
The northern cardinal is a winter resident. Here the male is scratching in the leaf litter where the snow has melted.
The snow melted around the base of the viburnum dentatum first, providing access to the leaf litter where insects and worms might be found. Yesterday was pruning day for me. The temperature was above freezing during the day when I pruned, helping any sap to come up to heal the cuts, but then freezing at night. I pruned a few low branches on the Chinquapin oak, as well as four viburnum bushes, the serviceberry, and the American plum. I was just trying to thin out some of the more dense or low hanging areas and get rid or broken or crossing branches.
If you remember we had an early winter storm in November last year, before the leaves had fallen. This resulted in the leaves persisting almost all winter on the American hornbeam, fothergilla and viburnum bushes, although they have shriveled up a lot. Most years the branches are more bare…
The top branches of Top Hat Blueberry stick up above the snow pack on the north side of the house. The sun is rising higher each day, though, as the days lengthen, and bringing sunshine to more areas.
I did not put up the winter hoop this year. Although the kale looks brown there is green near the stems. I might go out today and stick the hoops in the slots in the ground and put the plastic up. That will warm the soil so I can start planting cool weather seeds like lettuce. Then the Kale can hopefully start giving us new baby leaves this spring. I am pretty sure this winterbor kale made it through two winters now!
Last Sunday I walked around Lake Katherine, but it was very icy. Today I imagine it will be very muddy. Last week I took this picture from a little stand where people sometimes throw bread, although a sign discourages feeding wildlife. The geese saw me and swam right toward me hoping for bread. With all the snow cover there has probably been less to eat for them.
It has been a good winter for reading. I am working through this fascinating book, which I checked out from the library after hearing an interview with the author on NPR.
Another growing season starts. I am not sure I have the energy to keep up with my garden, but I will just do what I enjoy, and of course a few tasks that just must be done. I often find that the garden revives me as I poke around and then stop to watch the wildlife that shares this little place on earth.