Ah, New England in late March, you never disappointment. With only a few more days on the calendar, the month lived up to its meteorological tradition with lion-sized winds last week, some gusting up to 50 miles per hour. [Note to self: those little left over piles of leaves, twigs and soil you were going to sweep up this weekend? Don't bother... they've been blown into the next town.] And then this past weekend we were soaked by intermittent showers on Saturday, torrential rain all day Sunday, and rain mixed with a bit of hail today.
I was hoping that with the first day of Spring I could finally turn off my heating system. That was a pipe-dream, of course, since the two days of fifty degree weather we'd had the weekend before were promptly followed by nearly a week of 14 degree weather. And of course only days after I'd raked the garden beds and left them utterly exposed to the elements, the weather casters were telling us a Nor'Easter was heading our way and, depending on where you lived in New England, would bring either 20 inches of snow or a mere dusting. Mercifully, we were in the dusting zone and my crocus, daffodils and tulip greens seemed none the worse for wear. But for a day or two I was feeling like a very bad mother indeed to have left them so helpless in the face of what might have been.
Despite missing all the snow, the cottage was still a bracing 52 degrees on Friday, the first full day of Spring. But rather than fiddle with the thermostat, I decided to set a fire on the grate. It's always so lovely to sit by the hearth wrapped in a shawl and let the embers warm your face, hands, legs, and feet. And then you get up to make a cup of tea and realize the rest of the house is still 52 degrees.
I haven't seen the Starling family yet but I suspect it won't be long before they'll be converging on the old Alarm box that hangs over my side door, filling it with twigs, grass, thread, and whatever other flotsam and jetsam they can forage to make a nest for their young. Their travels back and forth will be fairly constant, and in time the entire box will be alive with the sound of young ones, chirping excitedly and begging for food. It is a Rite of Spring I look forward to each year and never tire of watching and hearing as it all unfolds. Including the part where the parents sit on the nearby Cherry branches and screech at me if I dare leave the cottage ... lest I "discover" where their babies are.
The squirrel nests are visible now, high up in the bare trees, although by the end of May they will be secluded amidst a canopy of leaves. They are just as industrious about their building albeit far more elaborate, grabbing whatever they can from my garden shed or back garden to supplement their aeries. Last summer they kept stealing hemp rope from the garden. For a hammocks, perhaps? Or an elaborate pully system to haul the purloined bird seed into their homes? They've also dragged plastic bags into the trees, no doubt for weather proofing.
My primrose are thriving indoors. Or perhaps it's so cold in my cottage they're in suspended animation? Whatever the cause, they continue to bloom and I hope they last long enough to be put into the ground once the soil is truly moist enough and the threat of snow and frost is truly past. When that might be is hard to say. This is New England, after all. Where rain frequently mixes with little flakes of snow despite what the calendar might say.