Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Birds are back but the season is slow

     After returning from a short trip to southern New England last week, I noticed that more summer bird species had taken advantage of my absence to move in. In the past five days I've now heard the hermit thrush, the bluejay, the black-throated green warbler, and the oven bird. The goldfinches are much more numerous now. Even the phoebe has made a few cameos. But no white-throated sparrows yet. Warblers are here but other than the black-throated green I haven't identified any yet. It's been raining almost continuously for four days, keeping me inside most of the time. Tomorrow it will stop, but then it's supposed to rain again for another three days. This has been good for indoor work but not so good for outdoor. This afternoon between periods of drizzle I managed to get out and finish planting broccoli, brussels sprouts, and a few lettuce transplants. It's too wet to plant seeds. The snow peas are a few inches tall and soon I'll need to drop a woven threaded mesh where they can climb, for this year I'm experimenting with a snow pea variety that grows to five feet, instead of the usual dwarf sugar snaps or podded peas. The onions that haven't washed out are starting to grow their tops, but the potatoes have yet to show themselves. It's way too cold and damp to plant beans, tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers. About ten days ago I managed to get a Garden Royal heirloom variety apple tree into the ground, and today I fenced it against the deer, cutting some saplings and pounding them into the ground, then stretching fence to encircle the whip, which is taller than the usual ones that come from Fedco, about five feet and already beginning to leaf out. The trees in the orchard and other parts of the property have been in leaf for a week now, though with all the rain there should be some issues with scab later on in the season. It's hard to tell at this point what kind of blossom year it'll be.

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