Signs of Spring Ilona Erwin Feb 8, 2012 3 Comments

I woke up to snow this morning... one of winter's end of season visits, just to let Ohio know it is still around. But its days are numbered! I heard one sure sign of spring yesterday- the call of the mourning doves. When I hear that, I know we are on the way out of winter's grip (which was pretty loose this year!)

Want to know another sign of Spring? If you have an oak tree that has held onto its leaves during the winter and notice the leaves falling, guess what? It means that tree buds are beginning to grow for the coming growing season. They are pushing out the hold that the old brown leaves had... the ones that no winter winds could dislodge, but now, who can resist the power of Spring's regeneration? Not the mighty oak. I suspect that like the rest of us the oak rejoices in the coming of spring.

The oak gives useful signs to the gardener. If the oak leaf is as big as a mouse ear... it is time to plant your corn. Old saying, along with the "knee high by fourth of July" gauge for corn crops. Usually it is about as tall as a man by that time, but 2011 was one year that corn just barely made the grade on the old rule of measurement.

Viburnum Dawn, upper right

- The Viburnum 'Dawn' is budding out. It is one of my earliest bloomers here. -

February is actually a little early to give oneself totally to the idea of spring, despite all the attention that Punxsutawney Phil gets at the start of the month. He predicted six more weeks of winter, by the way.

Another sign of spring? My new (older, but still new) dog is a long hair breed and has been shedding. Yes, that signals spring. He is working out really well for us, and we all love him. He has a new name , though. Sometimes a name just works itself out. My husband and I refer to him as "Houdini" now that his propensity for escaping every known collar made by man and waiting for the opportune moment to scoot outside when the door opens. We took him in to get "fixed" last week. Poor thing has to wear one of those scratch preventing plastic guards. As a sight dog, it is really cramping his style. But he is a very patient and dignified dog, and we continue with the fence project that he inspired in the middle of winter,while the kids take turns with my husband on giving him walks. I will start walking him, soon. I need the exercise.

Fence building- another sign of spring. If we were New Englanders it would be wall mending, wouldn't it?

Mending Wall
By Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!" I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Yes, I like Robert Frost.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ // ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
© 2012 written for Ilona's Garden Journal. An excellent blog.
by Ilona Erwin

A gardener, blogger, writer, who has been blogging here since 2004, and writing for my website, Ilona's Garden since 1998.

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  1. Nice post Ilona, Yesterday I could say no plants breaking ground but today I can not say that. Daffodils and Hosta coming up in our usual first for everything spot. They are 4 or 5 weeks early.

    Yes, I like Robert Frost.

    Have a wonderful afternoon,

  2. Hi Ilona. I will be looking around for the Doves now every time I look out or go outdoors. LOL!It was a delight to see a little snow this morning. A different sight than all the rain we have had anyway. Have a wonderful week.

  3. Thank you friends, for commenting. Spring that comes too early sometimes gets a little slap from Winter. We will see this year who one ups who in the struggle between them.

    Aren't the seasons funny? Summer slides so smoothly into autumn, and Autumn graciously gives way to Winter, but Spring and Winter struggle and duke it out. Summer locks up Spring,before we fairly know what's happened.

    I thought i heard Jays the other day, too. Now all is silent with the biting cold of tiny snow flakes.

    I like the diversity of Ohio weather. No room for complacency.


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