Monday, 18 May 2015

Just after the Ides of May

I drove in to my shopping town a few days ago on a beautiful sunny day. The woods and bushes along the county roads showed every shade of green imaginable, every bush that could manage was in bloom, every roadside was lined with spring flowers. It was a day to be glad to be alive, even with a list of errands and the prospect of lugging bags and bundles of groceries and supplies into the car and out of it again.

Here ‘in the bush’ there are the usual spring insects to dampen one’s enthusiasm for filling in the burned spots on the lawn with newly purchased patching seed. Blackflies in the sun, mosquitoes in the shade, more than the darting dragonflies can handle, worse luck. The hummingbirds are back and swarming the feeder. We have bird song, both spring courting song and exasperated clucking. We have three colours of squirrel and lots of rotten, nasty, hole digging chipmunks. We have had a bear through, necessitating two daily trips for me to take in the bird feeders at night and rehang them in the morning. And JG has just done his second cut of the lawn and field. In the process of this cut, he blew a lot of grass clippings into my laundry basket as I prepared to hang out the laundry. But I have forgiven him; had to if I wanted him to barbeque the steaks.

Spring in Lanark, much as usual except for low rainfall, although we have rain forecast for today. Having typed that, I looked out the office window and saw rain falling. And I meant to get the seed patches in before it started. Ah, well. 

It is Victoria Day here in Canada. We celebrate the Queen’s birthday on the first Monday before the 24th of May, even though that date is not the birthday of either Victoria or our present Queen. It is the long weekend dedicated to opening up the cottage, getting the annuals into the flowerbeds (our frost-free date here is the 24th of May), and getting the salt stains out of the car and a coat of wax onto it. It may also be the first big barbeque of the summer (who cares about a little rain), and it is a fine time for fireworks, weather notwithstanding. Lots of bangs and whistles last night, luckily a good way away.

JG has been out hunting porcupines, with a view to keeping the YD’s dog out of the hands of the vet.
She (the dog) had her second mouthful of quills earlier this spring. Three porkies are the score so far. And JG dug a deep hole and buried them. A bear has been by once and so we are not feeding the deer at all and are, as mentioned, being very cautious with the bird feeders.W e hope to have seen the last of him as we are going to be doing a lot of dog sitting over the next two months and while a mouthful of quills is annoying and expensive, a run-in with a bear could be a lot worse. Just ask one of my neighbours who found one in her kitchen a few years ago. Mostly the black bears are shy and seeing one is a rarity. But there is the occasional ‘garbage bear’ that has learned about human trash pails and food, and that requires sterner measures.

I love taking the paper (or iPad) and my coffee out to the screened porch these days. It is on the second floor of our home and surrounded by trees – it is like being in a tree-house, only furnished with comfortable chairs and tables. On the porch I am in the middle of the bird song with a  view all across the lawn and back field but only steps from a coffee refill. There is a wind chime and usually a breeze to swing it. It does collect every grain of pollen that blows by, but it is fairly easy to clear that away. If I remember. I had a guest in a long knit navy skirt last June, right in the middle of the worst of the evergreen pollen dump, and she was not as easy to clean. 

We have more guests in prospect and so I am finally going to have to bite the bullet and finish the hems on the guest bedroom curtains. And it is raining, a perfect day to stay inside and sew. 

Maybe after a few minutes on the porch.


  1. Your treehouse room sounds marvellous. As for the country in general, this is a fine season to be elsewhere.

  2. Porcupines and humming birds sound really exotic as we have neither!
    Victoria Day. haven't heard of that one. Weird how different countries zoom in to different things! it is really interesting and I must Google it!
    Maggie x

  3. Your porch sounds divine, may I join you? When I was young our hounds would disappear into the hills and many times come home with a snoutful of quills. My dad removed them with the pliers. They howled and squirmed and then ran off and came home with more quills.

  4. We're almost through tree pollen, but our silver maples are dumping tons of seeds now--helicopters, we've always called them, due to the whirligig style of flight they take when they come down. What a huge, huge crop of those there is this year after a punishing winter.

    Add the drifts of cottonwood seed, and I'm really sick of this spring. Grateful, but sick of its effects.

    Your treehouse room sounds restful and inviting. And perched away from your errant bear. Enjoy your Spring.