Signs of spring

Spring is slowly, but surely, shuffling its way onto the mountain. It’s good to see the usual spring things beginning. For example, the crested iris leaves are pushing into the sunlight, the poke sallet is beginning to wave its green flags and cedar apple rust, one of the more spectacular looking plant diseases, is in full “bloom.”

We were somewhat concerned that the irises might not make it this year. With the hundreds of trees damaged from last year’s snow, and the subsequent efforts to trim and remove debris from the road, we feared the irises might be disturbed or buried under pine logs and brush. It was great to see yesterday that those leaves had emerged.

Chocolate bunny

A Happy Easter to all!

GALLOOMPHING - This large rabbit didn't so much hop as galloomphed his way around the grounds of a local nursing home. He and a friend have free run of the place to the amusement of patients and their families.
GALLOOMPHING – This large rabbit didn’t so much hop as galloomphed his way around the grounds of a local nursing home. He and a friend have free run of the place to the delight of patients and visitors.

Trickle to torrent

The Ouachitas got a little bit of rain over the last couple of days. This morning, the clouds parted perhaps long enough for the Easter sunrise service down by the Arkansas River, but it wasn’t long before the dark  stormclouds were again in full throat.  The rain fell so hard at 8 a.m. Mass, the pastor said he could barely hear anything above the din of the drops battering the roof.

During yesterday’s walkabout, water was everywhere from tiny drip-drip-drips from the edge of a stone to white mini-rapids in the deepest part of the valley.


Weekly photo challenge: A (fraction of a) day in my life

This is really only a couple of minutes in a day in my life (yesterday, for that matter.) You could hear the peeping from down the hall: A basket of little yellow chicks. Not for Easter, but for the start of a 4-H project teaching kids how to raise chickens. One chick, cradled by a co-worker, fell asleep in her warm palm, or simply found our department boring.* A more detailed post, perhaps, after Easter.

*No, having poultry or other livestock in our office is not typical.

The grand challenge page:

Other days. Other lives:

The waxwing tree

The phone rang. A colleague upstairs called to see if I’d seen the flocks of cedar waxwings sweeping and swirling from tree to tree around the office grounds and adjacent campus. The birds moved almost as one; stripping the hollies of their berries and continually finding new places to roost. Waxwings are beautiful birds with their masks and crests. Look closely and you can see accents of bright yellow and pink in tips of their wings and tails.

TREEFULL - Birds outnumber blooms on the branches of this tulip tree.
TREEFULL –  Masked birds outnumber blooms on the branches of this tulip tree.
DOWN -- Injured waxwing seeks rest in the grass.
DOWN — Injured waxwing rests in the grass. He fell in a sort of spiraling flat spin like an autumn leaf. Perhaps he was dazed after a collision? Sadly, an hour later, his head tipped forward. His beak to the ground, he expired.

Blossom, Punxsutawney Phil and persimmon prognostication

A lot of America appears to be suffering from winter fatigue, cabin fever or related disorders that result from a prolonged battle against cold, snow, snirt, ice, power outages and indignant derriere landings thanks to any number of slick frozen water combinations.

This headline from a CBS story today says it all: The calendar may say spring, but the forecast says snow.

The winter weariness seems to have reached serious proportions in Butler County, Ohio, where there’s an indictment with Punxsutawney Phil’s name on it:

Where’s Perry Mason when you need him?

When it comes to whistlepig prognosticators, our money is on Perry County Blossom, who this year predicted six more weeks of winter. Blossom spokescouple Jack and Tamara also report that Blossom has had a litter.  We hope to have a new photo or two of Blossom as spring progresses and she can leave her den.

And one more note about folkways forecasting. It seems the persimmon seeds were right this year. The wet winter has been welcome in the half of Arkansas still in drought.

Weekly photo challenge: Future tense

Found hiding behind the cutting board, this garlic clove’s growth spurt ensures its future will be in the kitchen garden and not in the paella.

Garlic clove does not wait for a future in the pot.
Garlic clove does not wait for a future in the pot.

And others look into the future and see …




And of course, this week’s challenge homepage: