Thursday, May 2, 2013

Springing to life

Ferns emerging from the ground, May 2, 2013.
What a season! The skunk cabbages are leafing out, and the ferns are just beginning to emerge from the ground. Soon they will unfurl their fronds. The robins and bluejays were the first birds to arrive anew, joining the ubiquitous year-round chickadees and nuthatches. Soon followed the phoebes, and then the white-throated and song sparrows along with the hermit thrushes. Downy and hairy woodpeckers began making their hollow-sounding knocks on the dead trees, and I could hear the pileated ones in the distance. They have made great holes in the dead spruce trees, looking for bugs to eat.
Pileated woodpecker holes
The yellow-rump and magnolia warblers were next, and then the parula. Today I saw the purple finches for the first time. It's been warm and dry.  

To thwart the deer and keep them out of the garden this year, I extended my fence to more than eight feet high. Because some of my neighbors have been feeding the deer, they have become bold and relatively tame; and for the last few years around early August they have made it into the gardens--not only mine, but other neighbors who grow vegetables, some as extensively as I, eating up everything we can't protect. I clap my hands and the deer just stare at me as if I may have a morsel for them. I move toward them and they hold their ground. I shout, clap, and move, and they saunter toward the woods, turning at the edge to look at me again. Always it is the does and their children, very nice to look at even though they harbor the deer ticks with lyme disease and eat up most of the shrubs surrounding the houses, not to mention the vegetable gardens. Did I mention them? But not this year, not right here, I am hoping.

The neighbors are not near--I cannot see them--but within a mile there are about a dozen houses. Most of us have gardens and shrubs and although many of us have talked to the two families who feed deer, these families persist. Needless to say, it is against the law to feed them--it is unnecessary here, and it encourages their foraging, not to mention lyme disease. Did I mention lyme disease? Well, we shall see what happens in August. Right now the deer are very bold at dusk and dawn, grazing on the new-growing grass and so forth. We shall see what happens to the gardens come August. Meanwhile I am having to re-landscape around the buildings with rosa rugosa bushes (the deer leave these alone, possibly because of the thorns). 

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