It’s the first day of spring, and the sun came to the party

Today is the first REAL full day of spring (the equinox was at 5:07 p.m. local time yesterday), and I woke about 7 a.m. to find the sun shining. But it was colder than the dickens (that’s normal here: clear=cold, overcast=warmer; the clouds hold the warmth down closer to the ground), so I slept another hour. I am really missing alarm clocks–NOT.

When I got up, it was 34 degrees (F), so I lit the kitchen stove, Ben got up a short time later and lit the living room stove, and good thing, too. By noon it was just barely 40 degrees outside. Eventually it got up to 51 or 52, but that was midafternoon.

This is still a winter sun. It’s all glitter and brightness but has very little warmth. And it doesn’t really help that our house sits at the bottom of the north slope of a ridge. The trees have grown so tall that we get early morning sun and then nothing much for several hours (at least this time of year).

But it was still a pretty day. The Stellar’s jays are very beautiful this year. They seem much brighter blue than usual, and their little black heads much darker. They are real pests, but they’re so pretty in the sunlight that I forgive them.

I got some of the gardening done–the irises moved, potted, or planted, some pansies and violas that I totally forgot about in the ground. I discovered my Stargazer lilies are all up, and I think I’ve even got wild irises coming back (I was afraid I lost them all last year). But then I found the 16 strawberry plants that still need to go in the ground (they weren’t lost, I just forgot about them in my previous inventory), and that means digging up the groundberry roots where I want to plant them so I don’t have another total mess in a few months. And it’s just too muddy for that, even in my LL Bean mud shoes. I’d just turn the ground into concrete.

The trees didn’t get planted because the guys have been up running chainsaws all day in an area they’re turning from jungle into meadow/field. But I’m not too worried about the trees because we’ve agreed on where they’ll go and I know Ben and Ralph will plant those even when I’m gone if I lean on them. They also need to be fenced to keep our eager beaver from getting a taste for exotics.

There was a great article in the paper today about cooking fiddleheads (young fern fronds). But it referred to “ostrich” ferns, which I can’t find in any of the books I have. We have sword fern and deer fern and lady fern and maidenhair and licorice and of course the real pest, bracken fern. I have acres of sword ferns, and if the fiddle heads really taste like asparagus, I’d give them a try. This writer seemed to think you should just go buy some at the market, but that seems like cheating when I have all these ferns around here.

And there was also a wonderful piece on spring wines. I love Beaujolais, both the “nouveau” and the somewhat more civilized “villages.” And there were a couple of tips on good merlot and barberas, two other favorites.

Still no word on Tom’s treatment, but he mailed me a bunch of pictures he and Lisa took out here this weekend. They’re clogging up my mailbox, so I’d better get them downloaded and deleted while I’ve got the generator running. Somehow I suspect it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun at 42 Kbps. . .


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