moon phase Week of 05/03/2009 Excellent time for planting corn, beans, and other above ground crops.

Towhee Towhee Last night it was chilly enough to have a little fire in the woodstove, but what a difference a day makes. It was like summer today, with a high of 82 degrees and sunny. It was warm enough tonight to leave the door open, and a nice warm breeze came through the screen door.

The thunder and lightning came just after sunset followed by a little rain and some hail two hours later. Every little bit of rain helps. It's awfully dry not having any measurable rain for over a month. There's nothing like the cool, fresh scent of rain in the air, after it's been dry for so long.

Can you guess what this is? Can you guess what this is? Friday started with the first song of a house wren. He's a week early this year, and he picked a nice warm, sunny day to return. There are lots of Bluebird houses for him to choose from, and he's welcome to use them. My rule for birdhouses is, whoever moves in first gets to use it. I never show a preference for what kind of bird uses any birdhouse. I let them sort out their differences when bidding for a birdhouse. I've found that the busy little wrens like to build their nest of sticks in a hanging gourd. I have several of them but need to put them out in the morning; I've been so busy that I forgot about them.

Violets Violets At mid-morning while digging out a bed of wayward daylilies, a towhee's timely song reminded me to take a break. "Drink your tea, drink your tea," he called from the thicket of Prickly ash at the edge of the woods. I know that spring is in full swing when I hear the towhee singing.

There are reports coming in of people seeing little spotted fawns already. The past few years the first fawns have been born a couple of weeks earlier than usual. House wren House wren There are also some that are born a couple of weeks later than usual. A friend who lives 20 miles down river said he found a few small, gray morel mushrooms yesterday. As always, they are right on time, and soon "mushroom madness" will be running rampant through the Kickapoo Valley.

The goldfinches are still coming to the birdfeeders every day to eat their favorite food, sunflower seeds. The males are molting their winter plumage, and are now turning a beautiful bright yellow. It will be a couple of months before they begin nesting. They wait for the thistles to bloom so they can line their nest with the soft thistle down.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Rose-breasted Grosbeak The rain finally came Saturday night, and it rained most all day Sunday. It's unbelievable how things greened up in just a day, and for the first time this spring, there is more than just a hint of summer in the landscape.

With the rain came the first two male Rose-breasted grosbeaks. They looked so pretty as they sat in the rain on a branch outside the window. Turtles basking in the sun Turtles basking in the sun Hopefully they are the first of many who will spend the summer here with me.

It's so good to see the dairy cows standing in green pastures, their shiny black and white coats being cleansed by the rain. Imagine what that first spring rain must feel like after going all winter without a shower. It felt pretty good to me too, as I took a walk in the rain at sunset. I got a little wet, but I soaked up a full does of the season.

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Judy from from Freehold, New Jersey on May 10, 2009 at 10:17:50 AM
Is the mystery photo in this Down Nature's Trail a fiddlehead fern?
Judy from from Freehold, New Jersey on May 10, 2009 at 10:16:41 AM
I enjoy the rose breasted grossbeaks for a couple of weeks this time of year, but they don't stay. As soon as I fill the feeders with fresh nuts, they are one of the first to retrieve their feast. Although I enjoy every day outside in nature, part of the enjoyment of the wildlife and gardens is anticipation of what tomorrow brings. Thanks for your beautiful words.
Linda from from Lakeland, Florida on May 9, 2009 at 06:57:53 AM
Some smart person said, "Find work you love to do and you will never work a day in your life." or something like that. You are one of those people who have never worked a day in your life. Your love of all things comes through. Thank you for your column.
Karen from from Haverhill Massachusetts on May 8, 2009 at 12:08:17 PM
The little plant looks to me like a fiddlehead fern. Am I right? Love your newsletter, by the way, and I use it as an escape from my everyday world. Thanks so much!
Whitney from from Cashton on May 7, 2009 at 04:21:00 PM
The picture you asked what it was, is it the start of a new fern plant?
Sharon from from Falmouth, MA on May 7, 2009 at 03:34:52 PM
This is the first email I have opened and it is awesome. I love learning about the various birds and wildlife. The purple plants along my driveway are tiny violets....I never knew.
Thanks for your writings. I will keep reading and tell my friends.

Sharon Eddy
Rx: Nature
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