Monday, March 29, 2010

Rabbit Time

It’s spring and that means rabbits. I know that rabbits can be troublesome, especially in regard to the bulbs I get snuckered into planting each year. I say snuckered because bulbs have such beautiful flowers that I can’t resist them even though I know that I will rarely see the blossoms. I have planted hundreds of tulips and harvested nearly none. As the flowers start to bud the rabbits snip them off the stems. So my strategy is to buy fully blossomed plants at the nursery, enjoy them inside for a while, then plant them in the garden. If the rabbits come out for lunch at least I have the pleasure, for a brief time, of seeing their full radiance. And somewhere in my heart of hearts I nurture the hope that maybe this time some of the bulbs will survive to show up again the following spring.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Faux Dogs

I love spring but spring doesn’t always love me. It is the time when the flowers and my allergies awaken. Most of my sneezing and itching tends to come at the end of the season with the explosion of ragweed but I become more sensitive to other irritants like dust and animals as soon as the pollen develops. It isn’t too bad unless I actually pet an animal, which is almost impossible for me not to do. Even hamsters and guinea pigs will get the itches going but I can tolerate them. Dogs and cats, oh boy. If I pet and then touch my eyes I am in trouble. I might be able to pet if I wash right after, depending upon how much the animal sheds. If I ignore the warning signs and get too close for too long, labored breathing kicks in – not fun. So, depending on how susceptible I’m feeling, I may have to settle for faux dogs, those metal creatures that are supposed to scare away geese and ducks but don’t seem to be very effective. I can appreciate their cuteness without the consequences of the allergy. It isn’t a good substitute but we all make compromises in life. At any rate, I don’t know of any faux cats around so when my son and his family, including his hairy, shedding cat, visit I won’t have to phone anyone to announce their arrival – my sneezing will do it for me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Le Deluge

March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. I think March is confused. Here is mid-month and we did have some fierce winds but we also had rain, rain, rain. Isn’t that April’s job? How much rain have we had in the past week? The ground tells the tale. It is saturated, more puddles than dry earth. Of course, the marl that underlies the topsoil here does not allow the water to drain. Dig down about six inches and wham, the shovel hits rock-hard clay. Even so, the rain has been excessive, with each storm racking up inches in the rain gauge and causing flooding across the state. And the weather people are predicting more. Putting things in perspective, this is no big deal, what with the incredibly intense earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Yet it is atypical, and coming on the heels of record snows this winter, I wonder what April has in store after this deluge...

Monday, March 8, 2010

What to Do?

The snow, at last, is mostly gone though there are still clumps of it on lawn edges and plowed parking lots. As it pulled back from the side of my house, I noticed a trail going between my house and our neighbor’s. What is this? I wondered. It is the first time in thirty years that I have seen this kind of trail. What animal could have made it? Moles are too big to make that inch-or-two wide furrow. Squirrels depress the grass but they don’t dig a line into the ground. Chipmunks sprint across the grass from one hole to another. So when in doubt, check it out – on the web. What I found was this: I think we have voles. These are small, mice-like animals that make trails from one spot to another. It’s a mystery why they suddenly appeared. The vegetation hasn’t changed. What would attract them? The question now is, what to do? If they don’t proliferate I may not have to do anything but if they do…I will investigate non-harmful, to them and to us, ways of removing them. If anyone has experience with voles, please let me know.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Icicles Have Melted

The icicles have finally melted. For a while, there, I was wondering if we might be destined for a perpetual white world, though that would have its own beauty and charm. As the snow melted off the rooftops, it dripped into long fingers of ice creating a North Pole ambience. Very impressive and hard not to feel uplifted by the shimmering clarity that expanded with each drop. But the temperature has reached into the forties for the last several days so the icicles are gone. They have left an indelible image in my mind, however, to gleam in the sunlight and glisten at sunset and to provide a crystalline respite from less elevating thoughts.