I wandered outside for an hour, and encountered two small snakes, smaller than garter snakes. A worm snake (Carphophis amoenus) twisted around in the garden plot. I choose to take my worm snake sightings as evidence of super healthy soil that has such large herds of earthworms that these predators can thrive. Then a DeKay's brownsnake was next to a floppy daffodil as i reached down to adjust it. The DeKay's was much more still, testing its camouflage i suppose.
I may have seen a third tiny snake, or perhaps a thrashing about newt or other amphibian near the drainage ditch by the road. It seemed like snake locomotion as it got itself down into the shelter of the culvert.
On Monday, another DeKay's camouflage failed in the presence of Edward, who went after the small snake just as he does with birds, mice, voles, lizards, and baby bunnies. Luigi, though, got nose to nose with Mr Morrison the supposed single rat snake that lives in the back yard. Mr Morrison was coming out from under the deck, and promptly returned, hopefully to go to the east yard for a peaceful afternoon of sunning.
Not a tick yet, which means... less deer? we've managed the landscape to deny them access? Some opossums heard our plea and vacuum them up every night? Probably just that the evenings have been crisp up until last weekend. In the past few days the classic daffodils have melted away after a delightfully long display, and the saucer magnolia became drab and dull overnight. Plants are growing at break neck speed (except in my garden). Spring growth is shooting up everywhere. While i look at the orchard and only see sprigs of the moss phlox i transplanted taking hold, the meadow (the septic field that was a thicket of tree of heaven, honey suckle, autumn olive) has mounds of what i expect are wildflowers - Echinaceas? Joe Pye weeds? Blackeyed susans? I'm not sure what these mounding rosettes of leaves are for.... They aren't the non-native ox-eye daisy or Queen Anne's lace: i celebrate THAT.
Elsewhere i see shoots of what are asters or goldenrod. Yarrows are distinctively present.
Violets are even more abundant now: the native grass lawn area is now well decorated with their purple glow.
Today the not quite native Stoksia arrive via mail order. They will be planted at the edge of the rain garden where half price marigolds reigned last summer. I hope for a more blue than purple stoksia, a flower native to wet areas in South Carolina and Georgia. Since i was buying, my impatience flared and i also bought a cardinal flower (a red lobelia) and the great blue lobelia, also to reside in the rain garden. Maybe the seeds i scattered will take hold, but i've got two plants to be sure of.
I've been surprised how slow the breadseed poppies have been to get past the first two true leaves. Perhaps they've been biding their time too.
The next months will rush by, and i will go to Europe, and i will return to a magnificent jungle of flowers. The stilt grass seedlings wave at me and are not calling truce, though.