My parents called me delusional the other day when I said I had noticed swollen buds on the deciduous trees. Delusional might not have been the exact word, and it was a good-natured jest, but they didn’t see what I was seeing. They were comparing the view to points south, having just traveled back from an extended stay in Florida.
I, on the other hand, have been firmly planted in the Midwest since last summer. I’ve seen the slow, but sure, changes in the trees. This time of year, they start to look “fuzzy” just before the buds break. Tell me these trees don’t look fuzzy:
OK, so if you already have foliage on your deciduous trees, you’re probably agreeing with my parents that I’m delusional. But for those of us stuck in the north all winter, the change is perceptible and it’s exciting!
Hanni at Sweet Bean Gardening is hosting a meme with the theme "Hope Grows Day." Please visit her blog for the details. The idea of the meme is that we photograph what we're seeing now and what we're looking forward to a month from now. I’m looking forward to deciduous foliage! By this time next month, most trees here will have leaves.
Another meme, "Winter Walk Off," hosted by A Tidewater Gardener, asks us to take a walk and document our experience. This weekend I took two walks.
The first was a quick trip to the McFarland School Forest. It’s a wonderful resource in our community used for educational purposes. Students, actually anyone, can hike the trail and study plants and animals in a natural setting. The students also learn about invasive species and actions they can take to preserve the natives and destroy the invasives.
I visited the school forest in the late afternoon, so the oblique light accentuated the bright colors of Red Twig Dogwood and Black Raspberry canes.
Students of all ages learn about Native American culture by studying the structure of a wigwam.
And markers along the trail identify native plants. I was thrilled to see that some native Ferns are emerging.
My second walk covered approximately two miles—from my house to Lake Waubesa and along a wooded trail. The hubby accompanied me, so it was fun to look for signs of spring together. We headed down the street toward the lake.
Along the way, we passed this impressive Weeping Willow, which looks just about ready to burst with foliage (apologies for the electrical box and the power lines as this was the best angle I could get without spending too much time on this shot).
Here's the view of the lake from the entrance to the park.
Believe it or not, ice fishermen are still out on the lake and catching Bluegills and other fish. It takes quite a while for the ice to fully melt, since the lake freezes to a thickness of about two feet. We're sure the Bluegill in the second picture will provide a nice meal for one of the local Hawks or Owls.
The ice along the shore is breaking up—it's fun to see the strange formations.
Next, we were off into the woods. It's a good thing I had my hiking boots on because it was a muddy trek. More fuzzy trees surrounded us, and we came across a running creek. A lovely old maple hung over it at one point, and we couldn't figure out what was making a persistent dripping sound into the water. We figured out it was sap dripping from the tree. It's Maple tapping time!
The hubby found this amazing Mushroom growing under the snow. This is exactly how we found it, from two angles.
We reluctantly headed back home after a thoroughly refreshing walk. Some of the sweetest sights awaited us on the return trip—Robins and Cedar Waxwings!
I think it's going to be an early spring!
(Note: My heart goes out to friends in Japan, dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Fortunately, our Blotanical friend, Fer, of My Little Garden in Japan is safe. Thoughts and prayers are with survivors who are trying to recover from this terrible tragedy.)