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Local Wanderings: Spring

Is it just me, or does spring fly by faster than any other season? I want spring to last a year. I want to be able to observe each and every unfolding of bud and blossom. But, alas, Mother Nature has other ideas, especially here in New England.

In mid-April, pale pink blood root flower buds emerge from tightly furled leaves, pushing up through leaf litter. Two days later, the leaves are unfurled and flower petals are beginning to drop.

Three hot days later, bloodroot is soaking in their last few days of sun before petal drop.

The weather in New England often gives one whiplash - and spring this year is no exception. As I write, temps are in the upper 40s and its been raining for several days straight. A week and a half ago, temps surged into the 80s. I'm hoping we settle into more seasonable whether, especially so area farmers can get into their fields soon.

There are definitely upsides to all this rain. Last year's severe drought status had already lessened earlier this year, but this rain will no doubt help keep us out of drought - hopefully. Also, the many young trees we planted around town last year will thrive with abundant water on their roots.

Scrape a fingernail along the tender bark of spicebush - shown flowering - and the fragrance evokes lemon grass and Thai cooking.

A late evening in mid-April, I heard the familiar annual trilling of the American toad in the pond in our front gardens. I waited the next evening for the same song, which never came. What? Typically we hear American toads trilling for weeks on end, following by egg masses and then young-uns swimming in our pond. This year the toad must have heard a potential partner somewhere nearby and vacated the premises. Dang.

This American toad must have decided there were better opportunities elsewhere, since we have not seen or heard him/her in weeks.

Out with the old - in with the new. Our bean tunnel could not have continued to stand through 2023. Glen works on the new frame.

For me, spring is also a balancing act of appreciating the intense beauty and miracle of the season - and also getting my (and Glen's) butt in gear to get some projects done before the gardens have exploded. One such project was our bean tunnel, which we built several years ago using hemlock. Both above- and below-ground wood had rotted to the point that no amount of reinforcement was going to keep this baby upright.

Glen planned out the new frame and we both shared in the joy of post hole digging (fortunately the front yard has absolutely no rocks and the digging was easy). The project is nearing completion. If it ever stops raining, we will stain the wood to match our porch deck and then wrangle the stiff wire mesh panels back in place.

The photo above with Glen on the ladder also shows one of our beach plums in full bloom. We worry that this extended period of cool, rainy weather might seriously hamper pollination. I also worry about area orchards who already lost their entire peach crop to the extreme winter freeze in late winter. (We also had no blooms on our peach trees.) May their plums be able to withstand this weather!

In the front gardens, sweet, little fern leaf bleeding hearts clutch their clusters of nodding pink blossoms. In the back yard, it's hard to believe how prolific the fiddlehead ferns are, given how many I pulled out last year. Nearby, slender maidenhair ferns begin their unfurling with a backdrop of bloodroot leaves.

There's a lot to not like about invasive Norway maples, but I do love the way the trees sprinkle their spent yellow blooms across the yard.

As I work in the back yard, Twyla keeps an eye on my progress. Ah yes, the rotting picnic table - add that to the spring to-do list!

Thank you, spring, for giving me my annual lesson in paying attention, in appreciation and in hope. Thank you for your slow unfurling, your endless variations on the color green. Thank you for mayapples that grow 6 inches in one day and for flower buds on blueberry bushes and for arugula on my supper plate.

Life is good.

Want to find the rest of our wanderings? Go to


How wonderful of you to brighten this gloomy morning with these lovely photos! The spring flowers definitely go by too fast but they are a joy while they last. Memories of time spent with Nana💚


May 03, 2023

You squeeze a lot into a small yard !

May 03, 2023
Replying to

I did not share the photos that is my first cousin Glen Ayers

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