Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Spring has Sprung

We hit the fields today with the leaf blowers and started the spring cleanup. Nothing like the high pitched, whine of a leaf blower to get your senses screaming. A bunch of our neighbors were burning leaves [in spite of the local Fire Departments best efforts]. In case you suffer from Asthma nothing works better than smoldering leaves jamming your sinus cavities, sending you off franticly searching for your inhaler. We now have truckload after truckload, on the ground, in piles all awaiting the composting process so they can return later as builders of the soil. Our leaf vacuum is awaiting its turn as tomorrow it will reduce these piles to 10% of their present size as it chips and chops and blows the leaves into our trucks headed for the compost area where they will sit and steam until they have cooked into beautiful black mulch but we will get to that problem tomorrow. Blowing the leaves is like an awakening for the cemetery as our leaf blowers clear the cover off of markers and in front of large stones where gardens await. As the leaves tumble away they reveal an entire world of tiny shoots and sprouts. Crocus and early tulips all pushing up for a share of the sunlight that awaits. We squeezed the leaves in among the funerals and a bunch of other things and we could have waited a few more days but those leaf blowers really do signal the start of spring. The smell and the sound were all that was necessary. Ah the sweet smell and sound of spring. Could Daylight Savings Time be but a few days way?

Overhead, two Red-tailed Hawks gracefully circled the sky above us, slowly scanning the ground below as they interrogate it for one of our black squirrels or even a stray rabbit. Their grace was an amazing show as we watched them catching up drafts and rising and then slowly diving but all of the time, circling and watching. The sun was high and neatly backlit their seemingly transparent feathers, giving them a soft, red, glow. They rule the skies. When spotted the crows gave off the first warning cries and then others join in almost saying “Take Cover, take cover.” Quickly the low level skies become very busy as dozens of birds circle their nests pretending that this effort will ward off the speed blinding dive of one of these fearsome predators, waiting above. Soon the circling moves far off into the distance and the mind numbing chatter of the crows disappears as well. They are all safe again, for the time being. The show is one of the benefits of having 57 acres for your back yard, your own forest and being next door to the Berkshire Hills. The Red-tails are our favorites but we also have Bald Eagles and Peregrine Flacons circling on occasion.

This has been one of our driest Marches on record as we have received zero precipitation. We need the moisture as it is one of the ingredients for growing grass with success. We haven’t planted anything since October and we have a lot to do. “Come on Rain”. The winter months are our resting period. A time to relax and rest weary muscles and brains. A time to catch up on the broken tools and equipment, correcting deficient maps and records and a time to dream up new projects. It isn’t a time of complete relaxation as the winter snows must be removed off of miles of roads and thousands of feet of sidewalks so the children can get to school and the joggers and dog walkers have a place to travel. Making burials in three feet of snow and below zero weather isn’t exactly a “Walk in the Park”. We stay warm with our pot bellied stove and it lets us fix the equipment and paint in relative comfort. Our muscles tend to grow soft over the winter and the spring is the time to return them to tone and strength for the coming months. My God how they ache and only after one hard day. My back feels just like it is 63 years old and my arms scream out for some type of medication to take the hurt away. Thank God for Ibuprofen.


T. F. Stern said...


A good portion of my yard was cooked by the sun last year and only some of it survived the winter. I put my weed and feed on it and maybe that will help it spread out some. I have a black thumb when it comes to my yard.

Headed for the dr. (little d) today, something got ripped in my throat yesterday when I coughed and sneezed. It made having a cold all that much more fun. I hope they can fix it by the weekend; I supposed to sing at Carnaige Hall... yea, and I have some land in West Texas to sell you.

matt said...

Glad to see you back. I figured the weather popping had you busy. I need to get off my dead butt and do some yard work too lol.

Ted said...

Thanks Matt. Weather poppin makes a big difference and I came off a tough bout of the flu. You always say "Don't mind getting sick because it allows me time to catch up on my computer". Bull, all I wanted to do, and did, was sleep.

Mr. Stern. You didn't much seem like the Carnegie Hall type but who knows. And that land in West Texas, well I lived in Odessa for 3 years and you couldn't whip me and make me take it but I do appreciate the thought. They did have good football teams. Good luck with the Voice lessons.