Farmer in Winter
The groundhog did not see his shadow this February 2nd, leading those of us who believe such signs to know that winter is damned near over. The past several days, in fact most days since Mr. Groundhog ventured forth to look for his shadow, have been unseasonably balmy with signs of spring on obvious display. The little daffodils, the small ones up next to the house that have been in the ground for generations, are already up and blooming, and the expensive bulbs that I have planted the last couple of autumns are just starting to peek through. The maple trees have budded and tiny pinkish leaves are forming - and it won't be too long until the air is awash in those little maple helicopters - and the peacocks at Rock's Roost just love those!
The peacocks know that spring is upon us. The two males are strutting their stuff and displaying their gorgeous fans that are about six-feet across. Yesterday I was able to snap a couple of pictures of both of them showing off at once. So far the seven peahens are steadfastly ignoring their showboating suitors.
The skunks who had taken up residence in the barn last fall have left. Recently some larger animal has started pushing a brick out of the way that I have blocking the old entrance that the skunks used to use, but the skunk scent isn't back, so I'm assuming it's a groundhog. Groundhogs used to be regular tenants in the barn until I dumped some concrete into one of their main tunnels two summers ago. The new arrival could also be an armadillo. Time will tell.
The deer are back in force. My son saw five out by the chicken coop the other evening eating grain that the chickens had missed. The birds are also gathered around their feeder as well as any place where I scatter grain for the farm fowl. I have a bird feeder outside of my living room picture window that holds four large drink cups of chopped corn and sunflower seeds. It used to accommodate a dozen or so redbirds and a few smaller varieties and last for two to three weeks. Now hordes of shiny blackbirds descend on it daily and manage to empty the feeder in less than two days.
Does anyone have a good recipe for blackbird pie?
I took advantage of part of this warm spurt by beginning to clean out the coop area where my new baby chicks will live when they arrive in April. I've hauled out several small loads of chicken litter and rotting wood shavings out and dumped them in the garden area. Spreading the material is easy - after dumping a pile, I call a meeting of the hens and roosters and lay down the law. "Stay away from this pile!" I make that stern demand, and the disobedient fowl will have it scratched through and spread out before I can even make it back to the house!
The yard is beginning to green, leading me to think that mowing will start earlier than usual this year. Last year I mowed twice in April before my trip to Cuba at the end of the month. This year I wouldn't be surprised to be cutting grass by the Ides of March. Once the mowing starts, Pa Rock's life is defined by the length of the grass - and it goes on until early November.
Keep them mowers moving, Rawhide!
And snow? The last significant snowfall in this area was in March of 2013 while I was still living in Arizona - and that was just a few inches. Don't let Lyin' Paul Ryan or anyone else tell you that global warming is a myth - because it isn't!
Guess I'll go fly a kite!