Monday, March 23, 2009

A Winter Visit in Early Spring

We arrived on the island March 20, the day before the calendrical spring, for a week. My mid-semester respite will concentrate, mornings, on preparing an invited article for publication; afternoons, on getting papers ready for doing income taxes. Betweentimes walks in the woods, making meals, bringing in wood, making openings here and here. Much of the ground is covered still with snow, the road to the back of the property with ice; what is bare has turned to mud and frozen and then to mud again depending on the weather. The ground still holds a lot of cold and hasn't heaved the frost here yet although the roads show the usual serious frost heaves for this time of year. All was well with the house; the back road had a few spruces snap off and blow down, as well as a birch tree on the ground. When the weather warms mid-week I will work some on instrument restoration in the old store.

The bird feeder is filled and awaiting the chickadees and nuthatches and perhaps others. Very few have been seen here, fewer than in past years at this time, and the reports are that the songbird population has fallen off badly all over North America. We will see what the warmer weather brings, with the expected arrival of the warblers in May, the singing of the chickadees and white throats and finches and robins and sparrows and blue jays as the spring warms. Last year there were noticeably fewer blue jays. For now the nights remain below or near freezing, and the days warm to the 30s and 40s. This is only a week here, and I will return for a few days mid-April and again for a week at the end of April, to work on the garden fences and early plantings.

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