Monday, March 12, 2018

The Moods of Spring

The view down the lane on Monday morning [my camera didn't change the date until the next photo.]
March snow is not unexpected, but even in this area of relatively mild winters,  a late snowstorm is met with resignation rather than delight.
Area schools were closed--most likely because the county roads wind up and around the ridges posing some potential for early morning accidents.

 The snow was wet and heavy, but susceptible to the sunshine which broke through about 9 o'clock.
Daylight saving time began this weekend. I do wish that whatever powers decide such things would settle on one mode of keeping time throughout the year.

Weeds behind the retaining wall leaning with the weight of snow.

Every branch, twig and blade of grass was coated in snow, sparkling brilliantly against the blue sky.

Cardinals and bluejays bounced about dislodging clumps of snow.
The cats were disgruntled, unwilling to wade through the thick wetness to their usual morning look-out spots. 

On Sunday morning I began clearing tufts of dried grass and weeds from the area below the cement landing at the foot of the sidewalk steps. Several of the cats hovered, interested in my doings.  Willis was inspired to race about, then flung himself into a clump of wild onion, embracing it.

Tulips planted by the former owner, nestled at the foot of a cedar tree.

Bobby Mac monitors the back yard from his vantage point on the timber that borders a perennial strip.
Thank to blog reader Mundi, I've made an identification of the weed which is taking over the garden. The former owner had a load of topsoil brought into the area below his new workshop--the weeds came with it.  Mundi suggested 'mugwort,' a member of the artemisia genus. One of its colloquial names is 'chrysanthemum weed;' the leaves of the young plants resemble chrysanthemum. I really made the connection when I caught the scent of the leaves I had crushed--a scent very similar to southernwood--though not as pleasant.
I'm not encouraged to read that with its system of tough sprawling roots, the weed is nearly impossible to eradicate.

Sunshine, clouds, blustery winds, rain, snow: we've had it all in the past two weeks.

By the time I left the house today at 10 to drive to the shops in the South Fork Mennonite community, the snow was melting. Trees line the narrow road that leads to the main highway.  As I drove slowly along snow fell from the trees, splattering the windshield, melting as it struck the glass.

When I returned an hour later, the fields that border the river road glistened with puddles of snow melt, roadside daffodils had shed their white burden.

There are two more frosty nights in the forecast before temperatures rise again.
In town the spring shrubs were in bloom last week: tulip magnolias, forsythia, weeping cherry; Bradford pear trees were covered in frothy blossom. 
I recall how two years ago this early bloom was blighted by frost, leaving sad brown remnants clinging where lively color had been. 

When the wind blows cold and icy rain falls, the boy cats decide to come inside.
Bobby Mac and Nellie sprawl on the table by the alcove window.

Charlie and his daughter Mima have wedged themselves into the padded wooden box.
Neither one is blessed with much in the way of intelligence--both are too stubborn to give up their place.

I mark time: riding with Jim on errands, reading, yearning over the seed and nursery catalogs, mentally designing improbable gardens. 
Spring, more than any other season, is capricious--luring us with warm breezy days and blue skies, retreating into sulks of cold drizzle and lashing wind.
With the comparative flexibility of retirement we simply take each day as it comes.


  1. I like the easy-going description of your day there, so accepting of what is there before us at this time of year. There's no use crabbing about the chill or heat, it's just there to appreciate in many ways. Charlie nestling with his daughter-cat evokes a lot of human sympathy, certainly a lesson in patience and love, I'm sure.

    1. Phil; I'm sure you've noticed how often the 'weather' is a topic of conversation in any gathering--usually we are complaining about it!
      Watching our cats--or the Nubian goats next door--I see many human traits displayed [or is the other way round?]

  2. Winter has painted a lovely picture for you. We had some rain here and more is on its way. I believe the mugwort has rhyzone roots which are not easy to eradicate. It's probably difficult to spray it with anything because of your cats in the garden. The host of a Japanese show I watch, made a cake using mugwort! Your cats are adorable; especially the two little ones in the box. I hope your week is of to a great start. Pat

    1. Pat, I think the mugwort roots could be referred to as 'rhizomes--very tough and stringy. Even if I could feel safe in spraying I suspect it would only kill that which is above ground. I can't imagine mugwort as a flavoring.
      The cats provide constant company and entertainment--sometimes a source of aggravation.

  3. So sorry about the pernicious weed i your garden. Here I battle with bindweed in my flower beds. I'm about to throw in the towel.

    1. Sue; Various species of bindweed/morning glory are rampant here as well as ever present honeysuckle vine. They seem to go with the territory. If only our desirable garden plants were as tenacious!

  4. Sorry to hear that your Mugwortish weed is so pernicious. I have a few of those too and have just been digging one of them up - name disremembered but brownish-red leaves and small yellow flowers. A proper thug it is. I am dividing it up and potting it to grow on and sell at car boot sales to unsuspecting buyers . . .

    Sorry to hear about your late snow. We have sunshine and a proper spring day today (the first) but 'twill be wet tomorrow and getting colder again at the weekend. Drat.

    I hope you have a smooth move forward into spring now.

    1. Jennie; Our week has continued cold--another light fall of wet snow overnight. Except in a few shaded spots it quickly melts when the sun appears.
      Re thuggish weeds--I've seen a few [dandelion, burdock, etc] offered in the listings of herbal plant suppliers. I can't imagine!

  5. Could say 'a weed is a flower out of place' but you would probably splutter over your coffee. My horrible weed is called creeping buttercup and boy can it creep! But you have lovely photos of the snow around you and the cats are adorable.

    1. Thelma; Buttercup here tends to be of the common meadow variety--although I wouldn't rule out a creeping form. In looking up the plant I find that 'all populations in the wild have escaped cultivation.'
      Its always interesting when a plant catalog features a 'cultivated' hybridized form of something common in the wild--Joe Pye Weed comes to mind.
      We treasure the cats--though I have to scurry about removing cat hair from cushions when guests are expected!

  6. I see green grass in a couple of your pictures. The snow will only make everything grow better...even mugwort! Your kitties are adorable! And, aren't they the best gardening buddies a girl could have?

  7. Chip; I look at the weeds which survive drought, flood, frost and bugs--if only my perennials were that tough! The cats occasionally uproot seedlings for their own nefarious purposes, but they are lovely companions.