SPRING IN TWO PLACES!

Hello from Maine and Connecticut! After almost a month in CT, we are back in Maine for a brief stay before heading south again. I just wanted to bring you up to date on these transitions and my observations. When I returned to CT, my neighbor was boiling the sap he collected in this Sugar House. The maple syrup season was winding down and this was the final cooking. What amused me was the sign in front of their house which warned passing motorists that the house was NOT ON FIRE! Apparently, passersby would see the steam and think it was smoke, so they reported a fire more than once........! I visited with these industrious neighbors who have been making syrup for many years. They also have a Christmas Tree farm which I was pleased to see where their trees have grown since my last time in Connecticut. That green sign in the picture to the left signifies that this area is an Historic District and includes many old houses, including ours just down the road.

We came down to pack up and empty our 1715 Saltbox which we have called home for over 40 years. Now it is time to make Maine our home so we are here to make that transition. I expected spring to be farther along, but as the days added up we heard more birds, saw the turkeys perform their mating rituals, and watched the flowers emerge and the grass turn green. In the wetlands, the frogs were singing, and lo and behold I found a frog in my back yard! I was edging a path of pebbles when I mistakenly dug out a dormant frog! We have wetlands several hundred feet away, but this was a Gray Tree Frog. I had only heard these amphibians singing in spring, but never seen one down here. I was so intrigued that I promptly put together a terrarium to observe its habits. The frog was very dormant and I never saw it eat. In fact, some of the meal worms I gave it, just crawled over its back! I let it go recently, with gratitude for its allowing me to make an acquaintance. Maybe I will hear it sing in the days to come.

I did take time to visit the nature center which was a kind of home for me in Connecticut. I found the beavers still at work, and even scavenged some owl pellets under the trees where I used to find Saw-whet Owls. Along the trails, the Skunk Cabbage was in full bloom with other spring flowers emerging in places I knew to find them.......Marsh Marigold, Bloodroot, Hepatica, Virginia Bluebells, Fawn Lilies and others. I joined a group of kids as they netted the residents of a small pond. They fished out lots of Newts, frog eggs, dragonfly nymphs, beetles and leeches. It was a beautiful day as you can see. I showed the kids my Tree Frog since we didn't manage to find one. I also told them the funny squirrel story that played out recently. I had some deer bones sitting outside on an old rock well near our house. I noticed some bones were missing or moved around. I happened later to see a squirrel on the well chewing on a deer rib! I ran for my camera, but when I opened the door the squirrel ran off with the rib in its mouth! I know that rodents chew and carry away bones, but I had never witnessed this activity. Made my day.

It was such fun watching the awakening of spring in Connecticut and observing the contrast to a delayed season in Maine. The daffodils are now blooming both places - CT is now "buggy" and Maine is still bug free! I am inspired to plant some peas since the frost has finally left town. We have to return to Connecticut as May creeps up on our doorstep. One surprise I had upon returning to Maine was this Horse Chestnut branch that broke from the tree and had been placed in water. The unfolding leaves with their hairy stems, the opened bud leaves, and tiny floral beginnings were amazing. It just reminded me how much fun it is to make cutting of these branches to watch all the contents of buds emerge! I wish I had more time to tune in to the multitude of seasonal changes. There is never a dull moment, this time of year, so go out and enjoy every minute!
4/21/08 Ronnie, springing forth!