Tag Archives: Garden

Pondside Wakes Up & Moose! & More– April 19, 2023

It was an amazing transition into spring this year. Last week we had four consecutive days where the skies were blue and the temps in the high 70s. It was almost 80° last Friday when I hiked Mt. Pemigewasset. Wife and I spent the weekend around the pond, watching everything wake up from the long winter.

In the space of two days not only did we see the grass greening up and the trees beginning to bud, we also saw all of the wildlife returning to the neighborhood. The loons have returned and have resumed their patrol of the pond, and our pair of mallards showed up as well.

At least I think they’re the same pair as last year- they are territorial.

From our perch on the patio we saw an eagle, a beaver, a kingfisher and maybe an osprey out over the water. All kinds of birds made their appearance, including the barn swallows. Several pairs seemed to be arguing over who gets to occupy the single swallow house affixed to the big pine tree. I spotted a groundhog across the way in the big field. I don’t think he was George from last year, as it was much smaller. Maybe a relative?

And we’ve seen moose! While returning from New Hampshire last Friday I saw one along VT Route 105 in almost the same spot Wife and I spotted one last July. That cow moose was enjoying her time in the mud puddle. 

Then last Saturday night as we were heading south to grab some dinner, we saw this pair along the side of the road.

Moose have had a tough time around here over the past few years due to a tick-borne disease. Hopefully seeing this many this early is a sign of their recovery.

Weather returned to normal this week. Since Monday it’s been seasonably cold, and this morning we enjoyed sleet and snow showers. My neighbor calls this Poor Man’s Manure!

Yesterday, under cold gray skies I ventured over to Orleans to check out the Willoughby River.

Each year about this time rainbow trout from Lake Memphremagog migrate upstream and you can see them jumping through the cascades and nickpoints as they head to spawning grounds. Like the sea-run rainbows in the Pacific Northwest, they’re called “steelhead”, although these are nowhere near as large as their western cousins. 

While there’s a fishing exclusion zone from the beginning of the cascades until the river flattens out upstream, there’s no shortage of hopeful fisherman lining the banks from the no-fishing boundary downstream. I did not see any fish caught, nor any jumping while there. I suspect the water is still a bit too cold. I’ll try to remember to stop by again next week.

It was still good to see the river, as the water volume was high and the waterfalls impressive.

I took advantage of the nice weather over the weekend to get a head start on the garden, shoveling out the three raised beds being reclaimed this year. I suspect the quality of the soil- I think what I used was too sandy, so the plan is to reload them with a good mix of topsoil and horse stall sweepings.

The old dirt I deposited in a low spot north of the beds, and built a berm around the northeast corner of the garden plot. I’ll give a try growing some sunflowers here later in the year. Sunflowers aren’t too picky about where they’re planted, as long as it’s bright.

The indoor seedling grow is doing very well. I was obsessing over the failure of the King of the North peppers and Italian Parsley to germinate to the point of buying some new seed and starting more of each. Of course, as soon as I did this the original plantings popped. It looks like there will be an overstock of pepper and parsley seedlings come June. 

The potted flowers are all doing well, with the baskets starting to catch up. The Morning Glory plants are way ahead of where I thought they’d be now.

As is usual in April, the weather is expected to take a turn for the better, at least for a couple days. The plan right now is to head back down to Crawford North tomorrow and see what condition the trails are in since the 4-day heatwave.

More later- thanks for stopping by!