by Curt Kovener
Spring is beginning to make its way to the wilderness retreat as the wildflower photo on the front page attests. The forest is still rather brown and gray with occasional splotches of green appearing. Even the potted plants are showing some life. Lettuce planted a few weeks ago is up about two inches and the spearmint is stretching toward the sun after a winter’s sleep.
Some trees are beginning to show leaf buds and the redbud and dogwood blossoms are beginning to swell, soon to burst with their welcome of another growing season.
A few paw-paw blossoms are approaching opening. The bronze, bell-shaped flowers bloom well before the tree shows any of its long droopy leaves.
I walked around the lower trail with pruners and handsaw to try to fight back any encroaching multiflora rose bushes, green briar and grapevines. When you are cutting thorns you must be aware that the wild rose and green briar can be vicious with their curled back prickles.
You must also be aware of wild raspberry and blackberry. I leave them alone so their thorns can inflict their damage later this summer as I harvest the ripened fruit.
Though it has been rather cool in the hills, when the sun does come out, so do the critters. Frogs can be herd serenading along the lake bank and those ubiquitous lady bugs are moving out of their winter quarters into the countryside.
It was warm enough Sunday afternoon for a blacksnake to entangle itself in the nylon net deer fencing around the thornless blackberries. And it wasn’t too pleased with I tried to cut it free. After a couple of bites on my leather glove, I managed to pin its head and as I held the snake’s head and tail, a friend cut the restricting netting away. Even after I laid the reptile down on the ground away from the blackberries, it kept looking back at me like it wanted to go another round.
With the recent rains the creeks are running at near full bore. Charley enjoys taking a plunge and romping through the creek scooping up mouthfuls of water as he splashes along.
From the back deck, as the afternoon lengthens, it is calming and peaceful to listen as the water talks and sings to the rocks as it makes its journey downstream. The peacefulness is enhanced by enjoying my first mint julep of the season…well, maybe it was my second.