Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Arrival of Spring with the Recent Cross Quarter Day

With the arrival of Spring on February 1, the first cross quarter day, Imbolc, of the Celtic year, we here at MuRefuge have noticed much wildlife (foxes, raccoons, possums, deer, birds and butterflies) activity.  Dwight celebrated the arrival of Spring taking the pictures below, except the one of the California Pipevine and of course Laugh.
The pair of resident foxes in the open space South of MuRefuge
Last week we had a record breaking warm day.  With the greenhouse door shut as it is this time of the year, the inside is very toasty.  When I opened up the door to check on all the seedlings need for a drink, this recently emerged butterfly provided an awesome aaaahh.
Pipevine Swallowtail 
Emptied chrysalis beneath the greenhouse vent
Usually when the Pipevine Swallowtails emerge there are lush, succulent new leaves on which to lay eggs where when hatched the caterpillars have abundant food plant to munch upon.  Alas, with our freezing nights most of December and January, even now in February, the Pipevine remains a tangle of vines without leaves.
March, 2007, blooming California Pipevine (Aristolochia californica)
I have seen the Pipevine Swallowtail flitting about in search of nectar and a mate.  The former is available here at MuRefuge, alas not so the latter.  

While the below flowering shrubs are not nectar for the Pipevine Swallowtail, the resident Anna's Hummingbirds can be seen drinking their fill from these two flowers.
Fushsia flowering Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum)
Blooming ‘Lutsko’s Pink’ (Arctostaphylos. densiflora X
 Coast Silktassel 'Evie' (Garrya elliptica) 
This gorgeous Silktassel picture was taken before the recent wimpy rains occurred.  There was just enough rain and wind to tarnish the vibrancy of the blooms.
To limit the snails and slugs in the backyard, aka Rose's running space, while Rose is napping in the afternoons, the ducks have free range of the area.  They seem to love to rest beneath the swing.  The tangles behind the swing have now been drastically pruned back.  The Twinberry, Red twig Dogwood and Spice Bush hedgerow has been slowly creeping Northward since the initial planting in the mid90's.  This is the first time such drastic pruning has taken place which opens up ground space. Seeds from Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) this Summer will be gathered and started in Todd planters then planted out next Fall. Perhaps a couple of Wood Roses will be added too.  For enjoyment later this Spring native annuals already sprouting in Todd planters will reside in the space.
MuRefuge's resident female Indian Runners
the youngest Chocolate duck in now giving us 1 egg a day
Please share your Spring experiences while you 

1 comment:

  1. HI Cathie-Thank-you for the Valentine yesterday!!

    I went to my yoga class last night and the instructor who we all like very much gave us each a darling small bag of treats tied together with a heart on which were inspirational “love” quotes. While reading through your uplifting blog today one of these quotes came to mind -“The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; and so, do that which best stirs you to love (St. Teresa of Avila).

    And so I look forward very much to seeing you in April at MuRefuge-that which through your words and actions you cause us to stir and love our environment even more !