Spring Wanderings

Spring has definitely arrived in Upstate NY USDA Zone 4. There aren't enough exclamation points in all of human history to adequately punctuate my pleasure with this, my favorite time of year.

This weekend, I saw my first heron of the season, the first pair of goldfinches, and what appears to be a nesting pair of Canada geese down by the pond. The peewees and phoebes have arrived, as have the vireos. To our great joy, a handsome bluebird male appears to have selected one of our many bluebird houses to set up shop. The other 10 or 12 "bluebird houses" we've put up have already been taken up with swallows, who are a delight in their own right.

Over the weekend we saw bumblebees, cabbage white butterflies, and a butterfly we suspect was a comma (yes, there's a butterfly called "comma," along with one called the "question mark").

The honeybees were seen working the willow and gathering pollen from a blue hyacinth. Last fall we planted 100 or so Siberian squill, and they too have bloomed, though I haven't see any honeybee action there as yet. The dandelions have just begun to blossom, and I imagine much of the bees' focus is on that vitally important foraging plant.Speaking of dandelions, Wren and I enjoyed one of our annual spring rituals this weekend—foraging for tender dandelion leaves in the field, which we cooked up with olive oil, anchovy paste, onions, and pine nuts and tossed over pasta. Serious seasonal/local yum!

On my morning walk with the dog yesterday morning, I communed at woodland's edge with the aptly named spring beauties, one of my favorite spring ephemerals.
An additional sign that beekeeping season is officially upon us: I managed to acquire my first sting of '08 on Sunday afternoon while observing Hive Orange from what I thought was an appropriate distance. They weren't having it, though, and clocked me upside my head. It didn't hurt much. Must be the time of year.

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