Young Starling

moon phase Week of 02/22/2009 Any root crops that can be planted now will do well.

Rainy days and Mondays. If you are one of those who can see the beauty in a rainy February day, you and I could have a lot to talk about. Young Starling Young Starling With a daytime high on Monday of nearly 50 degrees, the heavy gray clouds brought a light rain. Together with the melting snow, a fine fog began to form by late afternoon.

The wild birds went right on about their business, and seemed to enjoy being rained on. After all, they haven't had a good shower for about three months. For them, it surely feels like the first spring rain.

All it takes is a little warm weather, and things being to liven up across the land. The opossums, skunks and raccoons are all on special missions to find something to eat. If the weather turns cold again, they may have to return to hibernation, so they work hard at putting on some fat that will get them through the rest of winter while they sleep. My compost pile, near the back garden, is always a favorite place for an opossum at night.

Creek thawing Creek thawing There are so many things that can give character to a day like this, if we just look a little for them. The forecast for Tuesday is 50 degrees and sunny, which is real nice, but I take my days one at a time.

The crows are finding all kinds of new places as the snow melts. Most of the snow had melted off the top of a muskrat house and three shiny black crows were checking it out. You never know where you'll spot something good to eat. A week ago I saw over 20 crows eating sumac berries, all in the same tree. They like sumac berries, but usually as a last resort. Now that the snow is finally melting, the crows can find new adventurous places to look for food.

Old antlers are called "sheds" Old antlers are called "sheds" Another special thing about rainy Monday was the full moon that came that night. It was a beautiful time for a moonlit walk. The rain had ended and the night was warm. The air felt heavy and damp. The moonlight gave a glow to the thin fog that hung over the creek in the meadow. Some time in the night, the clouds will part and the "man in the moon" will look down with a smile.

The warm spell was great, but came to a halt on Monday when the cold came back. The cold froze what remained of the snow, making it possible to walk on. It's a good time to take a walk through the woods and search for deer antlers. The bucks shed their antlers each spring, and over the next few months they will grow new ones. These old antlers are called "sheds" and finding them is like finding a group of morel mushrooms. I'm always surprised when I find one, and I always say, "Ah-ha, there you are!"

Antler in the woods Antler in the woods I like to follow the fresh trails the deer leave. These trails aren't always the easy path to follow, but you find the sheds where the deer have been. If their trail leads me through some overhanging brush, I follow, because I know that a low-hanging branch may dislodge an antler, so I keep my eyes peeled where the deer trail goes through thick brush. Sometimes one may be just lying there in plain sight, but you won't find it if you don't take a walk. To see any of the first signs of spring, get out and go for a walk. I guarantee you'll want to do more.

It's been nice to hear the spring songs of the birds this week. They really lift my spirit each day. This week the White-breasted nuthatches are having verbal confrontations. With their wings and tails spread wide, they challenge each other for the best spot on the birdfeeder. This Monday morning started the week off right when a robin greeted me from across the road. Another antler find Another antler find His loud "chirp, chirp" was a welcome addition to the other bird's songs, and my spring fever rose a couple of degrees. The only bird that seems to stay quiet is the single mourning dove. She sits alone, preening in the sun at the edge of the yard.

I've got my snow shovel ready, and they say I'll be using it tomorrow morning. It may seem like a setback, but I know by the signs that spring will soon melt away the lingering winter. Don't let a little cold and snow dampen your spirit. Put your faith in the future, and keep the signs of spring in your heart.

Naturally yours,

Dan

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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