Spring Finally Arrives In The Wilderness

by Curt Kovener

No matter how long the winter lasts, spring does not miss its turn.
After what seemed like an unusually l-o-n-g winter—the winter that wouldn’t go away—spring has arrived in the wilderness.
The rest of the native trees and bushes are leafing out and catching up with the invasive multiflora roses and autumn olive. I see another invasive—garlic mustard—growing along the county roadside so I am keep my eyes on alert for the serrated heart shape leaves and white blossom plant. Not to worry about spraying these rapidly spreading plants, the best method is the old fashioned one. Pull them up by the roots.
Native wild violets and wild phlox are adding their touch of shades of purple to the forest floor.
We’ve have gotten the ferns, elephant ear bulbs, and Persian shield out from the basement where they seemed to have over-wintered in good shape. They all got a long drink of liquid fertilizer as a spring tonic.
We stored the water catching tray for the elephant ears over the pots for the winter. We were surprised that when we put them on the porch and uncovered the pots, a couple of elephant ears—white for lack of sunlight— were already about 4 inches tall. I guess the ears wanted to hurry spring as well.
Chipmunks scamper around and are stalked and dispatched by Willow the cat. Not to worry, the wilderness has an excess of chipmunks.
Emma the Great Pyrenese keeps the property protected from invasion by deer, turkey, and raccoon. And there are ever increasing numbers of those, as well.
Emma has been most useful digging up moles, for which I am grateful. She considers them a live action squeak toy. It doesn’t end pleasantly for the mole.
A variety of colorful birds passing through the wilderness are eating at the feeders: rose breasted grosbeaks, towhees, and Baltimore orioles along with the usual contingent of chickadees, tufted titmouse, cardinals and several sizes of woodpeckers.
The large crow-size pileated woodpecker is heard up the ridge jackhammering on dead trees looking for insects.
In the evening just before dusk the turkeys gobble before heading to roost. Then the night hawk—whippoorwill —takes over through much of the darkness. Spring peepers and barred and great horned owls add to the night time lullaby that sings us to sleep.