Sure Signs of Spring

Spring has arrived late this year but there are some sure signs of Spring.  The temperature started climbing above 0 degrees celsius last week and FINALLY the snow started to melt!  In a matter of a couple of days, most of the snow in the front and back yards has melted leaving puddles.  There is still a big drift down by the shed but it’s much smaller now.  I can even walk down to the river even though most of the ground isn’t frozen any longer but more like a sponge.  It’s rubber boots time!
In my excitement, I decided that it was time to change my winter-ravaged, torn and shredded Canadian flag down at the beach, now that I could get to it.  I happened to choose a very windy day but I got the job done and now my new flag stands as a sentry along the water…….. and I can tell which way the wind is blowing.

River
And the river started to break up!  Most years, the ice has already broken up and floated down river by now but this year it’s taken until now to begin.  I noticed first that the channel in the middle of the river had a small slit of glittering water – this is the first to melt with the flow of water.  Then the next day, their was a sliver of water along the edge of the riverbank which was open.  During the windy days, the whole ice floe completely moved away from our riverbank to near the channel leaving a substantial stretch of water.  Best of all, my ‘lake of shining waters’ is back!  This is the sparkly, glittering water reflecting the sunrise.  I love it.
The Canada Geese and other migratory birds started arriving back last week.  Thankfully the Robins can now find food since most of the snow has melted.  The Geese, Loons, and Seagulls can land in the water and even stand on the ice floe.  I’ve also seen my ‘friend’ the Great Blue Heron flying down along the water, Pterodactyl-looking.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

On my way back up the yard, I noticed the rhubarb starting to poke through the ground.  The daylillies too! The grass is even greening up under all those leaves I left on the ground.  This year, I’m beginning my ‘shoreline restoration project’ where I will start to let the river’s edge go back to it’s original state rather than cutting most of my grass right to the water’s edge.  It will be better for the environment, plants, and animals who live here too.

Another important yet unpleasant job is scooping the dog poop in the back yard.  My elderly dog Yukon died in mid-February but there was still a season of his poo under all the snow.  I almost got the whole job done while reminiscing about Yukon’s years here but I found tears in my eyes near the end.

The maple sap has been flowing from my tapped maple trees for nearly two weeks now.  It did slow down to a near stop when the weather turned very cold but it’s now flowing steadily.  I’ve been boiling the sap on my wood cookstove to make maple syrup – not much because it takes about 6 litres of sap to make about half a cup of pure maple syrup.  But since I’ve been making a fire anyway, there’s no harm in boiling the sap down on my cookstove.
One important sure sign of Spring is the sound of my sump pump.  It’s strange, but I certainly like hearing that on-and-off again humming noise because it means that the ground water around and under my house is being pumped away so I don’t flood.
What better way to welcome the warm spring winds than hanging laundry outside!  There’s nothing that soothes my visual soul more than the sight of laundry drying on my clothesline.  This week the temperatures are supposed to be above normal so all the comforters and blankets on the beds and floor mats will get washed and hung outside to dry.  Nature’s sweet, fresh smell lasts for days.

Sunning
Most days, our cat is sunning himself whenever he’s not ‘chasing’ squirrels at the windows from inside the house.  I find myself instinctively cleaning out closets these days.  I can’t understand why I’ve kept papers from 20+ years ago so some of them were recycled and others are in a burn pile.  Bookshelves are not immune either so any of my children who have left their books still on Mom’s shelves, let me know if you want any of them or they’re off to the book re-sellers.
As spring slowly gives way to the warmer temperatures near summer, another Canadian tradition begins: National Hockey League hockey play-offs.  There have been times when we’ve watched NHL play-offs on a TV outside on the deck while basking in temperatures in the 30C degrees.  Let the play-offs begin because this year my team is in the play-offs!  Go Sens Go!!

My Lake of Shining Waters

My Lake of Shining Waters

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Garden of Eatin’

 

Today I picked my first garden produce: rhubarb. My daughter Nellie and I enjoyed a stick of rhubarb dipped in sugar just like when I was a youngster. Eating that sweetened sour rhubarb reminded me of what heavenly delights I have to look forward to in the next few months from my garden of eatin’ :

Fresh rhubarb and sugar

Fresh rhubarb and sugar

I received my first clump of rhubarb from my elderly neighbour when I moved here 33 years ago.  I went on to give clumps to other new neighbours over the years as well.  My friend Farmgal gifted me a new clump of rhubarb a few years ago and I planted it up by my kitchen garden close to the house – today’s rhubarb was from this plant.

Mint

Mint

Who can resist mint!  In teas or just about anything else, mint is wonderful.  Drying mint for storing and winter use is easy-peasy.

Day Lillie

Day Lillie

Just days after the snow melts, day lillies begin to poke through the ground.  Within a few weeks they grow a foot tall adding lime green colour to the yard.  These bright orange flowers can be added to salads or even stir-fried.

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger

I dug this wild ginger from the forest near my house.  I just adore the velvety green leaves and the delicate little flowers.  I’m sure I could eat the root if they weren’t too pretty to dig up.

Bee Balm

Bee Balm

Isn’t the flower beautiful?  At one time, I had six different colours but red is my favourite – my sister Faye gave me the original plant years ago.  Bee Balm or Bergamot is is that flowery smell of Earl Grey Tea.  It’s nice to just rub the leaves and smell it for hours.

Ginko Biloba

Ginko Biloba

I planted my ‘Ginko’ tree in honour of my first grandchild Kalia’s birth 10 years ago.   Ginko is reported to have memory-enhancing properties so I’d better start drying and using for a tea any time now.

Creeping Thyme

Creeping Thyme

I planted this creeping thyme in the pathway under the arbour.  Every time I walk through that arbour, I smell that sweet smell of thyme.  I use this thyme in my soups and other recipes, even when I have to brush the new-fallen snow off.

Hops

Hops

I have several areas where Hops vines grow.  They are versatile and forgiving and create wonderful shade.  Last year, I clipped all the ripe hops off, dried them, and mailed them to my son Robin who used them in his beer making.

Apple

Apple

One of the first things I planted when we moved to this place were apple trees.   I have three remaining apple trees but only one produces apples that I love.  They make great Apple Crisp.

It’s hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago, the ground was covered in 2 feet of snow followed by 3 feet of flood water.  I can’t wait to be eating from my garden of eatin’.

 

*most pictures were taken last year

 

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