Leaf out! This is the time each spring when the trees, here in southwestern Wisconsin, turn green. These forest-covered Kickapoo mountains come alive with color as the maple, pople, hickory and oak trees bust out with many shades of green leaves. Itís leaf out!
This usually happens around the first or second week of May each spring as winterís bleak landscape changes towards the sweet promise of summer.
The large old apple tree on the northside of the house, is full of beautiful snow white blossoms. Iíve often wondered how old this tree is. Could it have been planted here when the farm was first homesteaded, around 1850? Iím not sure, not knowing how long old apple trees live.
Seeing how lovely this 45 ft. tree is, brought back memories of the large apple trees that once stood in nearly every farm yard in the midwest.
The fruit from the trees were piled in bushel baskets and turned into apple saunce or juice and stored in the cellar of the farm house. Every cellar had shelves of clear and blue fruit jars which held the bounty of each summer harvest.
There was a time when most of the people who lived in town also had gardens and a few apple trees. A young boy, growing up in a small country town, never wanted for a crisp apple.
As time goes by the large old apple trees die and are replaced by high producing dwarf varieties. Theyíre nice but arenít tall enough to hang a swing from.
The flowering crab apple trees I planted last year are alive and well but are still too small to bloom. Those who are lucky enough to have a couple of these beautiful trees blooming in their yards are getting a special spring show. The branches are covered with breath-taking light and dark pink blossoms.
If you live in the eastern states you may notice how pretty the lilacs are this year. Thereís nothing that will cheer up a room quicker than a bouquet of fresh lilacs. Itís one of the smells of spring I look most forward to but for now Iím still waiting. The lilacs here have yet to open.
The lush green leaves of the bluebells dance in the breeze and their sky-blue heads nod back and forth. They seem to be flirting with the canary-yellow marsh marigolds along the creek. Under a fallen boxelder tree a few white faces appear. The trilliums jump out against the green leaves and ferns of the forest floor. Dancing around them are the smaller white flowers of some Dutchmanís breeches. They look like tiny white breeches hanging one above the other. I always pause and give these special flowers some extra notice knowing it will be a year before their delicate white beauty is seen again.
A crawfish makes his way along the gravel bottom of the babbling creek and water stridders skip along the surface.
A bright blue male bluebird sits patiently outside the birdhouse for his lady love to appear from within.
A house wren calls from near his hanging gourd house in the big apple tree and her blossomed branches sway with the breeze.
Spring is a very special time. A time to watch and learn something new every day. A time to listen to all the life around us and smell the freshness of the new season. Lastly, tasting all the flavors that mother earth offers to us from down natureís trail.
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