April 27th, 2018


Carolina Wrens

We have the windows open this morning as Christine has a sinus infection and instead of running a humidifier, it seems opening the window is a much more reasonable solution. That meant i heard the chittering of one wren just outside their nest and was watching to witness both birds fly off. Could this mean there are chicks? One has since flown back. Greycie Loo has shown a good bit of interest in the action just feet away from the window sill.

Outside is green -- it glows in the windows. The slowest trees are just budding out: some sweetgums and on particular crepe myrtle. Dogwood petals carpet the ground under trees. The walnut has tasseling blossoms. I've noticed the black cherry trees blooming -- which has helped confirm my identification. The trees are 40 and 50 foot tall, so i don't see how anyone other than birds get at the fruit. I've never noticed the fruit, but there sure are plenty of little seedlings. I don't begrudge the birds though as we are are doing out best to rid the land of the autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata).

This morning a fine mist hangs in the tops of the pines, accentuating their height.

The impulse purchased plum red gladiolas have sprouted. The bulbs i dug up from the yard to clear for the driveway have not. I transplanted poppy seedlings from where they are too tightly growing in the garden to a number of places in the yard, one of which is a scar of red clay left over from the drive way. I had seeded the area with a mixture of seeds some months ago, including poppy seeds, and was happy to see one has sprouted. The area still seems likely to succumb to weeds (defined as aggressive prolific nonnative plants). But it's now time to plant the annuals with confidence, so i'll try again with zinnas and marigolds and sunflowers.

The grass seemed to grow inches during the rain earlier in the week. I got a good bit mown on Wednesday evening.

Last night our grading guy came by to give us an estimate on the orchard. He's going to haul off the stumps for us(and huge poison ivy on two of the three large sweetgums he's going to take out). This adds a good a bit to the estimate, but it's better than the usual dumping in the woods. He's busy, so i have three weeks to dig up the ferns (Christmas and sensitive and southern lady along with cutleaf grape ferns), find the partridge berry again (Mitchella repens, i think, not Gaultheria procumbens), and move the mosses. Doing this slowly and on our own terms -- artisinal land clearing, as it were -- has allowed me to really get to know the patch of ground. Having three more weeks means that i should be able to see all sorts of plants get large enough to rescuable size. Christine has a couple more sweetgum to do in as well.

One other yard thing for this weekend will be hilling the potatoes. They've been slow to sprout, but i don't think i have drowned as many as i thought i had. They're shooting up now, so adding "biochar" - the charcoal left after i burn our clearing debris - and other organic amendments to the clay at this point seems a good plan. It's a long term improvement -- i don't know that it will be particularly good for the potatoes -- but it can't be any worse than the clay.

I told my folks a tiny bit about Christine's elephants yesterday. I'm sure Christine would mind, but it felt like an important bit of context for them to understand where i am as well as Christine.