Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Sightings at MuRefuge

This time of the year is so alive with its show of Spring flowers and the green of  leaves opening on the bushes and trees. Newness, freshness and promise is presented with a splash and this season with an explosion, or so it seems. When I go out in the morning to let the ducks out, I notice both flowers and leaves opening, then in the afternoon when I go out to feed Jax, there is more of both.

This Spring brings diversity to the usual and almost everyday sightings of deer and fox. One morning just past while sitting I noticed the arrival of the first Allen's Hummingbird visiting the feeders. As in cycles past more migrating hummingbirds will soon follow. The feeders with the plethora of hummers require filling twice a day. There seem to be at least four different species who come through (Allen's, Calliope, Costa's and Rufous); some stay the Summer like Costa's and Allen's. There is also of course the year round resident, Anna's hummingbird, whose youngsters visit the feeders with voracious appetites. 

Close up of the flowers on the Golden flowering
currant that provide nectar for the hummingbirds.
Golden flowering currant bush

A Pipevine Swallowtail, who lays her eggs on the well established California Pipevine here at MuRefuge, fluttered over my head while I was working in the garden this week. The swallowtail species is so very striking, and in the bright sun when flying they look black, almost like a shadow of a butterfly.
A newly metamorphosed Pipevine Swallowtail in the greenhouse.
"Butterfly spirit approaches the unknown with calm and joyful anticipation. (She) trusts in the mysteries of life to develop its unique gifts and possibilities. (She) believes that even when you creep like a caterpillar, you hold within you the potential for transformation. (She) patiently accepts the pace of natural evolution and expects inevitably one day to emerge and soar. An encounter with Butterfly spirit is encouraging you to take the many small caterpillar steps to build your chrysalis of self confidence. Later, in the larger Butterfly world that is still but a dream, you will transcend into glorious flight."  Butterfly: the Mirror of Transformation, Spirit Animals by Victoria Covell, illustrations by Noah Buchanan.

MuRefuge is home for many different species of Ceanothus most of which are now flowering to provide nectar for any early metamorphosed butterflies.

And last but not least the sighting of most import, since I have never seen one before, was a badger frolicking on the antique farm equipment South of our property. Quite a few years ago the present inhabitant of that property told us of a badger den in that area. And walking about in the Hessel Area we have seen evidence of badgers digging, but a real live badger has never presented itself to me. WOW!

"The warrior Badger spirit is willing to fight to uphold the integrity of its beliefs. Even if in the minority, Badger is resolved never to back down. The hallmark of Badger is its determination and persistence. (S/he) ferociously digs to the roots of truth. (S/he) never lets falsehood remain concealed, however deep it may be hidden. Badger is not impeded by obstacles when it sees a potential beyond."  Badger: the Warrior who Speaks the Truth, Spirit Animals by Victoria Covell, illustrations by Noah Buchanan.

During the Winter past I dug out our small pond which had filled with silt and Dwight reapplied bentonite to keep the water from seeping out of the pond. During that process the Black flowering Sedge was dug up. Let me tell you transplanting an established Sedge is no easy task! I was not sure the plant would survive but the tenacity of this plant was evident as the air temperatures have risen.

And here's a close up of the awesome display

Shasta playing Hide 'n Seek with Coco.
Guess who initiated this game?
Not the alpha dog, Coco.
To bring lightness and match the exuberance of Spring


  1. A badger in the neighborhood! What a thrill! Thanks for all the news - Kathy

  2. An email I received from my dear friend in Vermont: "WOW!! we're still inundated with snow. even the brook is still frozen over. nothing green to be seen. but every once in awhile there are birdcalls...a hopeful sign.
    maybe we'll get some real signs of spring in the next month or so. muddy dirt roads will be prominent among them.lots of love, louise"

  3. Here's an email I received from my sister mine: "Hi Cathie,
    Well spring has been slow in coming to Wisconsin. I was reassured that it was really going to arrive here this past Monday, when I went out in the morning to let the geese flock out of their evening pen and discovered the first egg had been laid. Even though it snowed again Wednesday morning, I knew it wouldn't last long. I'm so-oo-o tired of shovelling!! It has been a very, very long cold winter, with lots of below zero temperatures. It seemed like it was either arctic cold or slightly warmer and snowing. . . . Winter is a drag!!! Lots of love, Mary

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. From Shasta's Georgia communicator: "what great photographs.
    We are not as far along in spring has been damp and on the chilly side.