Mar 30, 2008

Coltsfoot Has Bloomed

At last, the flowers of spring are pushing through the ground and opening their flowers against the chill and the wind. Driving back from church today, I spotted the bright yellow of a group of six coltsfoot flowers alongside the road near the Sternagles home. Walking from the house along the driveway to get the mail, one lone flower could be seen just above the dried leaves from last year. What a cheery sight to see after a relatively snowless, brown winter. The rains of late have been gentle enough to move into the thawing ground, hopefully replenishing the groundwater from last year's dryness. Perhaps this is the way of the future: winter rains replenishing the groundwater instead of snow. Regardless, the recent rains, lengthening days, and moderating temperatures seem to have moved us a step forward with coltsfoot emerging from the ground.

Other notes include:
  • two deer were a few feet from the porch last night, eating sunflower seeds put out for the birds.
  • walking the road today yielded a great blue heron, a very cold meadowlark on the wire, and a pair of Canada geese and a pair of mallards on the pond near the house.

Mar 26, 2008

First Spring Peeper and More

I stepped outside around 11PM and heard several feeble peeps from a spring peeper. I've been hearing them in Osterburg on and off from March 15th on. Of course, Friday night March 21st produced four inches of snow and created several cancelled Easter Egg Hunts on Saturday. It also produced a tremendous fallout of ducks on Canoe Creek which I missed. I was called about it and was told the entire lake was covered with perhaps 10,000 ducks. I was in Clearfield so I drove to Curwensville Dam where I found the ice has not yet gone out. Not a single duck was seen.

As spring moves forward, spring beauties are up but not flowering yet. I popped several daffodils in the ground for my daughter to watch emerge. I also dropped a red trillium, white trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, and maidenhair fern bulbs in the ground hoping to start a shade garden. First, I'd like to see some temperatures above 60 degrees and hear the chorus of peepers and some wood frogs croaking soon. Come on spring!

Mar 17, 2008

A Chilly Day at Canoe Lake

Today was spent in church and assembling a shelf for the daughter. A brief stop at Canoe Lake yielded 87 ring-necked ducks, probably 5 canvasbacks, and 2 mallards. The highlight was a muskrat swimming by at less than two feet distance. The rhythmic wiggling of the tail propelled it silently forward while I watched.

I also planted several daffodil bulbs along my sidewalk and created an experimental shade garden with a jack-in-the-pulpit, a maidenhair fern, a white trillium, and a red trillium purchased at Lowe's. I'll be very interested to see how they do.

Tested the pH of the soil also. An even 7, which is very sweet and will provide some good growth, I hope.

Mar 15, 2008

Spring is moving in!

I drove south to Osterburg to pick up a few essentials. Osterburg is perhaps 20 miles south of here and west. A smile came to my face when I heard spring peepers there. None are peeping at Red House yet.

Also, an eastern phoebe graced us with his arrival today. The first I've heard this year.

Birds on Canoe Lake include: ring-necked ducks, redheads, 4 ruddy ducks (a first for the year), some buffleheads, and perhaps one old squaw.

A New Home

Last night was the first night my daughter and I stayed at Red House. I purchased it in December of 2007, but installing a central heating system and upgrading the electricity has taken much longer than expected. I hope to add some furniture in the next few weeks, but that will depend on my work schedule.

I'll begin with a brief overview of why I bought the house. The first reason is location. Canoe Creek State Park is just 3 miles away. A 10,000 acre gamelands is less than a mile away. The 1.5 acre property borders an exceptional trout stream (Canoe Creek) and has wetlands on it. I was watching a male bluebird this morning investigating holes in a tree where I am told bluebirds have nested before. A male and female pheasant walked from this property across the road this morning at 8AM. Numerous puddles appear in the lawn (which will be landscaped for wildlife) after rain and rabbits, squirrels, and numerous kinds of birds frequent the area. The house is a hunting cabin, thus the need for some upgrading. The fireplace is definitely the centerpiece. When the house was constructed, I am told that stone from Beaver Dam Road was used in the fireplace. Several stones have fossils from what I believe is the Devonian Period.

I'm looking forward to learning about my new home. It will be a great adventure, I'm sure.