Pussy Willows

moon phase Week of 03/08/2009 Excellent time for starting seed beds.

Most people would wish for a beautiful, blue sky, sunshiny day for their birthday. If your birthday is a day in late February, though, you never know what kind of day it might be. Pussy Willows are one of the first signs of spring Pussy Willows are one of the first signs of spring It could be a blue sky, sunny day, but 20 degrees below zero, or it could be 40 degrees and raining all day. Of course, there is not getting around the weather even if it is your birthday, you take it as it comes and make the best of it. Thursday was a special day in many ways, including a Happy Birthday phone call from the one who started it all, my mother. The calls came in all day from my kids and friends, and more than any other day, I realize how nice it is to have a phone! [Editor's note: This is a new development for Dan.] There's nothing like hearing the voices of those you love on your birthday.

Squirrel lurking in a Kestral box Squirrel lurking in a Kestral box Normally that would be all I could ever wish for on my birthday, but the weather gave me a special treat as well. The dark skies gave way to rain by mid afternoon, followed by a flash of lightning and a huge clap of thunder that shook the house. I can't remember ever having fireworks or thunderstorms on my birthday—that's usually reserved for those who have birthdays in the summer. To top it all off, the rain suddenly changed to huge flakes of snow that drifted slowly down and turned everything white in just a few minutes. It was a pretty special birthday gift indeed.

Birdhouse with a small door for cleaning Birdhouse with a small door for cleaning Even though the weather hasn't been very Spring like, there's no reason a person can't think about doing some things that are timely, like building a new birdhouse or two. I've been working on a couple of new nesting boxes that I would like to put up in the next week or two. These boxes are for a variety of birds, including wood ducks, kestrels, and screech owls. They all will use a nesting box with about the same dimensions if they get to them before the gray squirrels do. The 12x12x20 inch boxes have a 3 1/2 inch hole that many birds or mammals can pass through. Whenever I put up a new birdhouse, it's always on a first come, first serve basis.

Watercress is highly nutritious Watercress is highly nutritious It's also time to clean out any old nesting material in the existing birdhouses, something that needs to be done every spring. The bluebirds will start showing up in the next week or two.

The first signs of green came in the form of fresh watercress that was in the spring that runs through the meadow. The fresh, peppery taste is a wakeup call for the mouth, and I picked a little for a sandwich or a salad. A little watercress goes a long way. Also along the edge of the creek, I was surprised to see some pussy willows that were starting to bloom, despite the freezing temperatures. I have to admit that I've been complaining about the cold weather lately, but these few little signs of Spring have warmed my heart a few degrees. Watercress ready for eating Watercress ready for eating I was beginning to think that winter might last forever, but now I can see there is hope that spring really is just around the corner. The signs of Spring should start coming fast and furious from now, no matter a few setbacks from time to time.

This morning the temperature was five below zero at sun-up, but in spite of the cold, I heard several Tom turkeys doing the spring courtship gobbling from the edge of the pasture. They weren't about to let a little cold weather freeze their spirits. They are determined to live in the moment, and they are taking this moment to celebrate Spring.

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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