Snow, snow

Snow, snow, go away, go away and be sure to stay.

That was my thought when I looked out my window for the fourth morning in a row and saw the ground covered white during the second-last week of April. Last year, we had spread topsoil and raked and sown grass seed that had sprouted, showing a green sheen across the same area by this time. Not so this year; the weather has been cranky, windy and wet.

For three days and running, I have gone out and spread several handfuls of wild birdseed mix on the ground below my feeders. I have about 30 slate-coloured juncos feeding there. As well, there are about three pairs of chipping sparrows, a dozen or more song sparrows and a couple pairs of mourning doves, all ground feeders, there. The cursed blackbirds and starlings dominate my feeders in large numbers.

Out of the wind, beyond the little barn replica, built specific to house my canaries, I scatter each morning a handful of dried fruit; this I had picked up as a partial diet for the umbrella cockatoo that I now possess. Both the robins and the bluebirds seemed to enjoy those, but as soon as the snow left, they went back to finding their own.

I suppose worms and insects are higher in protein and a little more to their liking.

Early one morning just beyond our workshop, nibbling the short, green leaves of the lawn grass that stuck up through the snow, were two pairs of Canada geese. The first pair took off when surprised by our housedog, Foxy.

When I called her back, the second pair remained, but they did not go back to feeding. They just strutted around, honking on occasion as though calling the others back. They then also took off, flying low up and over the hill in the direction of the newly renovated pond following the hurricane clean-up. I have hopes that both pairs will stay and nest there, as the pond has no snapping turtles to harm their young, and they all will be protected by the water if the coyotes decide to hassle them.

In the meantime folks, off and on, I have been picking stones in preparation of making a new perennial garden. We ploughed up a short strip in an aging pasture that had not seen cultivation in decades. The stones, though relatively small, make up for their lack of size by numbers. The soil is rich and well drained so I have hopes of great success with a row of raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, and a couple of clumps of the Alberta Pie Plant, commonly known as rhubarb.

Who knows, I may even plant a few black and red currants or a gooseberry or two – perhaps a grapevine on a trellis and a couple of clumps of those Egyptian onions, which stay in the garden all winter and produce their young bulblets on top of their stems. They make the best early spring green onions for salads.

Well folks, I think I am out of both garden space and column space, so I best cut short my chin-wagging for now.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins