Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mourning Doves in the Morning

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunrise is camouflaged in gray clouds this morning and the sun appears to be having difficulty recognizing morning responsibilities. It is dull outside, and the ground crunches as you walk. Last night's 24 degree temperature solidified yesterday's snow melt. Karl the wonder dog and I just returned from our morning walk and it's apparent spring in here in his mind as he resisted a return to the house. I had slip-slided about enough on the patches of ice along Peacham Pond Road but minor slips to a dog are meaningless when spring smells abound.

The call of the mourning doves is welcoming. Somewhere I read that they pair for life and that may explain the single whatever that has been at the feeder outside my window all winter. I am seldom into male-female bird identification but the bird kept me company all winter in a strange relationship as it appeared when others birds were not interested. They are silent as they land and leave and when you see them on the roadways eating grit, they seem fearless or stupid. They do not spring into the air until you hit the brakes and share commentary they cannot hear and would not care about anyway.

As Karl and I walked down George Jewett Road, we faced Hooker Mountain straight on. It's a beautiful mountain with some thick cliffs I want to climb some day in search of bobcats. The backside was clear cut a few years back and is a messy representation of man's greed. Two years back a logging trail was cut across the summit to access another 60 acre woodlot and for some reason that road was obvious to me today. When we woke to our first spring day here in Marshfield in April 1990, bears talking about their winter hibernation were audible from here but since the clear cutting, even the bears have said enough of this and have moved on. I miss those calls as they remind me that I live in a place apart from bustle and noise and interruption. That has changed.

Last night I went out three times to listen for barred owls but they were silent or perhaps absent from the area. It has been a difficult winter for owls and those that live on ground rodents because of the snow. Several years ago Alex and I made a nice wooden house from plans we found in an old bird book. This winter we made two more but only got as far as dragging them on a sled out back to where they will be hung. Getting the ladder out is a chore and this all should have occurred last year but time was short. Sometime soon? Barred owls supposedly nest once a year here between February and August. I don't understand that behavior but that's what I have been told.

I just wrote an overdue check this morning to the Species Lily Preservation Group I am three months overdue but I figure they will forgive me. This is a the kind of catch up work I do at 5:30 in the morning before the real stuff has to start. The SLPG is an important lily group because it seeks to protect and reproduce important lilies from which today's favorites derive. I really have to get with the program here and write the Pacific Northwest Lily Society and find out when I need to renew with them. Plant societies are always looking for members but members don't always do their share of responsibilities. Gail and I belong to more than a dozen societies right now and I almost need a spreadsheet to remember how many years I renewed for, what the membership fee is and who the treasurer or secretary is. Regardless of my forgetfulness, these are very good societies.

Bulb lilies are a special plant to us. We have elected not to sell any this year as we make the move to our new nursery. It's not because we are giving up as much as they require a higher maintenance in pots and we have lots going on this year. Gail reminds me it would have been easier to have some for sale as opposed to having to tell everyone why we aren't carrying any this year. She's probably right but in our business, I am the juggler and I have too many things in the air already. Box stores and ag stores like Agway and Blue Seal often carry some lilies and Gardeners Supply in Burlington recently merged with Four Seasons and both of them offer lilies.

The Internet has a number of companies which mail order lilies. It's best to go with companies which specialize in lilies and also better to stay away from the companies that say they carry everything and always run some kind of low cost special. There's nothing like ordering what looks like a nice apricot or a muted pink that grows up orange or white. Just a thought.

We send all new lily growers to Judith Freeman in Washington State. Her business,
The Lily Garden, is only lilies and her personality is nothing but friendly and professional. She's always on top of the lily world and always has a lily which will make you and your friends stop in awe. As for me, I better stop everything right now and get on with today's projects.

Good gardening from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a Hairy Woodpecker is pleased with the new chunk of suet I put out last night.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Trying to sell some plants on-line at Vermont Flower Farm

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