May 09, 2003

Journal ~ May 08 2003

Approaching late mid-spring by my own personal calendar of the season. The Mayapples have sprung up almost overnight, most are two leaved and so bear the single waxy white flower hidden underneath (and under the Mayapples is where I found the morels!). Northern Maidenhair Ferns are in their most delicate and perfect symmetry now, gathering light in the dappled glades before the overstory fills in completely. Interrupted fern, New York Fern, Cinnamon, Christmas, Sensitive, HayScented Ferns. Onoclea sensibilis. Thelypteris noveboracensis. Dennstaedtia punctilobula. Osmunda cinnamomea. God made ferns to show what he could do with a leaf, someone said. There is also a kind of poetry in fern names and if I am alone, I may repeat their names outloud.

With all the rain we've had this spring, the pasture grass is tall enough now to blow gracefully with the breezes, green blades bending in unison in swirls and swaths, as if a great invisible hand tenderly stroked the thick green pelt of a favored creature. We'll get two cutttings this year, easily, I think.

Found: three morels. Enough to provide the suggestion of sweet earthiness to the stroganoff, three more would have been better. The first, found by accident. On the second foray with bag in hand, I am convinced they disguised themselves and became invisible. Hint for next year: Never carry a bag where they can see it.

We've had a request to export some of last year's blackberry and black raspberry jam out of state. (Got it boxed up already, mom). Looking like a good fruiting year up on the back 35 acres, logged unmercifully nine years ago, but coming back now in white pines (some 15 feet tall!) and many, many berries. Ya'll come pick-your-own. We'll provide berries, scratches and ticks.

We've lived here long enough now we know not to expect to harvest many of them. Wild strawberries cover the old postal road up the valley, five-petalled white flowers everywhere underfoot like the day after an outdoor wedding. We'll get none, the turkeys and grouse, chipmunks and groundhogs, and I think especially the box turtles will enjoy them even while the berries are still green.

It was warm enough today to turn on the ceiling fans, and tonight, on the few windows which carried screens over-winter, the top sash will stay down a few inches to let in the cool night air and the sound of the first trilling toads. Time for clothes that suit the weather, and I found a pair of shorts and flashed about two spindly legs the color of the belly of a dead fish. Soft and pale and thin and spindly... wasn't that a song?

Bird sounds. Today, the first Scarlet Tanager, heard but not seen, as usual, somewhere from the uppermost branches where the Indigo Buntings also prefer to perch and sing. Great crested Flycatchers' buzzy calls are coming from the big walnuts over by the barn, and Please-to-meetcha Missus Beecha I still cannot hear from the Chestnut-Sided Warblers. It sounds more to my ear like SwitchYouSwitchYou I SwitchYou! No matter, as long as I remember. No Black Throated Blues or Green Warblers yet this year, and I fear they will be more and more uncommon as our Hemlocks succumb to the Wooly Adelgid.

Last night late, fireflies in ones and twos, just practicing for the Hallelujah Chorus of Fireflies by the gazillions in late June. It gives me chillbumps to think about that constellation of pulsing golden lights come down to earth, on a June night when I can smell the warm pasture grasses in the dark, its pollen offering up the soft round aroma of bread baking, and in the distance, silent summer lightening.

Posted by fred1st at May 9, 2003 05:11 AM | TrackBack

Ah... a lovely woods song...out here in Californy the words might be more like this:

"Woodsia scopulina, Dryopteris filix-mas, Polystichum kruckebergii and Adiantum capillus-veneris"

Morels! Oh I am very, very jealous.

Posted by: feste at May 9, 2003 01:24 PM

what a lovely wild report. and fireflies?? already? hard to imagine.

have you ever eaten mayapples? i did - once - and i wonder if anyone makes a habit of it. they don't grow here, but back home in new york state they are under every forest-edge. i miss them.

and if you have to lose strawberries, losing them to a box turtle is pretty romantic.

thanks for this today.

Posted by: beth at May 9, 2003 03:44 PM

Good luck in finding the fungae. Chestnut-sided warblers, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings. You really know how to get the juices flowing. Here in Kansas I watch the turkey scrounging around in the little meadow between our yard and the creek, of an evening, and hear their soft gobble wafting through the open windows in the morning. They've graced us by roosting in the woods along the creek, lately. Scissor-tailed flycatchers and western kingbirds came in about 10 days ago. Along about that time the first cattle egret showed up (the first cattle egrets that I had seen in Kansas were a small flock that flew over, low, as we were holding Bogie's & WS's post-wedding party in the back yard of a house not far from here). Our eastern phoebes arrive a couple of weeks ago. I saw the first Mississippi kite of the year, this morning. The house sparrows built a nest atop the bluebird nest in the nesting box nearer the house (the one farther from the woods). I discourage the interlopers as best I can. Perhaps the bluebirds will reclaim the box for their second clutch. The irises are in full glory, and the first two rose buds have burst. That's our spring update!

Posted by: Cop Car at May 10, 2003 07:27 PM

mebbe you got S&M Warblers?

Posted by: feste at May 13, 2003 01:20 AM

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