Monday, 3 April 2017

What winter hath wrought

The glacier in the back yard started to retreat yesterday. There was much joy! Much puttering about was done! Supper was late! Perma-dirt under the fingernails was initiated!

There's a long way to go yet of course. Along the edges it still looks like this:

The rhubarb patch. Hahahahaha.

It's a (very) good thing that we aren't fussy about the state of our lawn, because it's a particularly interesting mess this year. Seems the mole population is doing well ..

free potting soil! thanks moles!

with boot for scale
We saw one of the little bastards critters one winter day. There'd been a thaw then a hard freeze; he was scurrying around on the rock hard surface of the snow, desperately trying to find someplace soft enough to dig through and get back to his tunnels. He was bigger than I expected, much bigger than the dead one I once found in the laundry room (I'll spare you that long, horrible story).

They better close up the entry points
before the garter snakes wake up.

Hmm. This one's tiny. Mole?
or fairy?

For the few days of glacier retreat season we're treated to a glimpse of 'The Webs'.

Not spider webs, they seem to be
Trippy, am I right?
some kind of mycelial network-y type thingies (I'm guessing) that form (lurk?) under the snow and disappear with the first rains. I love them. I probably shouldn't be getting as close to them as I do, what with a potentially fatal allergy to one or two fungi (penicillin, and that blue mold that grows on mandarin oranges). But there's something so entrancing about them.

What in tarnation?

This year, there's something new.
Oh, they're apples! 

'Webby Blobs'.

It wasn't until I saw a second one that I figured out what these blobs are. Or I guess I should say were.

I suppose to those of you picnicking on green lawns under blossoming cherry trees this is all a bit dull?

No back yard is complete without them.
It is dull, all browns and beiges, rotting leaves and dead grasses (and mysterious webby blobs).

No wonder the sight of lowly moss on a stump can send a person's heart into a delighted dance of dysrhythmia.

As much as I love being able to
name the green things around me, I've got a funny thing about the fungi kingdom. I like not knowing what we humans have named them. I like not knowing what they're "for", in human terms. It's not all about us, after all.

I love the in-between-ness of this time of year, the reminder that decay is essential to growth. That's one of the reasons we don't 'tidy up' our yard in the autumn, we want those mysterious webs and the fragrances of dead grasses and rotting stumps.

And then this is all the more delightful:

in 24 hours I'll have pollen on my nose.


  1. I'm about a month behind you. People in warmer climates have no idea how amazing the first signs of spring are.

    1. True, but their cities grind to a halt over a couple inches of snow, too!

    2. Ah, yes, Tim, we do! Albeit our yards and forests aren't blanketed with the beautiful enchanting snow as yours, all goes quiet and brown in winter. As leaf buds swell, plants push up and blossoms form, our hearts leap with those hints of Spring as all comes back to life.