Frogs: The most exciting thing outside our door right now are all the frogs we’ve been seeing around the pond that Jeff built years ago. One day we counted six at one time- two large frogs and four small frogs. (That’s a record here, so we were pretty excited!) Bracken wants to go out every day to count frogs. Jeff has always been crazy about frogs and has collected frog eggs over the years, trying to get an abundance of frogs established in our pond, but it seemed something kept eating the eggs or tadpoles. (He suspected the newts.) This year, though, we’re finally seeing a family of frogs, rather than the one or two we usually see each year.
Bracken has been speaking to them in “frog language” (by ribbiting, of course), and told me he asked them to please lay more eggs so we can have more frogs live in our pond. We went to a bookstore recently and Bracken pulled a frog book off the shelf called It’s a Frog’s Life. It was a used copy and cost so little that I decided to buy it without reading it first (since we needed to be somewhere by a certain time and had to get going.) It turned out to be such a treasure of a book and has become a new favorite. It’s funny and informational all at the same time. It also came into our life at the perfect time because Bracken is really into frogs right now.
Mason Bees: The weekend before last we brought mason bee cocoons outside to hatch. (We kept them in the fridge to hibernate until then.) We’ve been doing that every spring (and also hatching out summer mason bees) for quite a few years now and they really help with pollinating our garden. One of these years I want to build a beautiful mason bee house to hold the tubes, but for now we simply use a piece of bamboo and it works great. It’s in a sheltered spot tucked in under the roof on the chicken coop. To hatch out the cocoons, the directions say to place the box with the cocoons on top of their home. I wanted it to stay put, so I simply attached it to the top with a clothespin. We love seeing the bees fly in and out of the tubes and then watch the tubes fill up with clay later in the season.
Newts: Besides counting frogs, Bracken has been enjoying catching newts in the pond with a net. He catches them and then releases them and we watch as they make their way back to the pond. I’m sure we have newts and salamanders in our pond, but even after learning about them last year, I still don’t know how to tell them all apart. We’re so glad to see so much life in our pond- fish, frogs, newts, salamanders, and more, but I have to admit that we are bummed that ponds with lots of newts (we have lots!) tend to have less frogs because the newts eat them in the early stages. (We want more frogs!)
Blossoms: It feels so wonderful to walk around and see signs of spring, to see flowers in bloom and blossoms everywhere, to spot tiny forget-me-nots and pink flowers covering the huckleberry bushes. Our small cherry tree is covered in white blossoms this year for the first time (last year it might have had a few singles blossoms on it.) We love seeing the ferns unfurling as they grow taller each passing day. The honeyberries have yellow bell shaped flowers on them that are so pretty and the currants have grown so much over the winter! We’re even pleased to see the pink flowers on the mildly stinky (so-called weeds, don’t know the name) that take over the garden because they are a spot of color after a long period of grey skies. (And they are very easy to pull up, so I don’t mind them popping up everywhere.)
Other Spring Things: We’ve been seeing quite a few snakes in the garden this year. I still jump if they surprise me, but I’ve grown much calmer around them over the years. I’ve grown calmer around other little creatures as well, which probably has to do with the fact that Bracken is constantly showing me animals and insects of all kinds and the more we seek out information about them, the better I understand them and therefore the less nervous I feel around them. Snakes will forever make me think of my Grandpa K, and every time one passes by me in the garden I feel like he is saying hello, so I’m sure he has inspired me to be calmer around them as well.
Those are some of the spring things we’ve been enjoying outside our door. What signs of spring have you been noticing? Whether in your garden, at the park, or out the window as you drive through town- what signs of spring are making you smile?