Sunday, April 02, 2006

The joys of Spring in Thetford

4-2-06 VERMONT: The survivors did another ski day on the 30th at Mt. Sunapee. It was an easier trip and the girls loved the skiing. Maggie was skiing blue trails by the end of the day. The Sunapee and Loon are comparable in difficulty and size.

The weather was quite warm during the days until yesterday when we had a rainstorm followed by cold front. Today is windy, sunny and in the 40’s. The rain was welcome as we are down about 5” from the dry winter. The snow is gone except for the piles under the eaves. Those piles often last until almost May, but this year they will be gone in a few days.

The pond has started to melt. It melts first at the shoreline and extends inward. Now we have about 5 feet of open water around the sides and a floating ice island in the middle. The island is inhabited by tennis balls abandoned on the ice by our masters the dogs. We do not understand why they did that, but we do not question their actions. On a windy day like today, the wind pushes the island back and forth across the pond.

Around the edges of the pond, now that we can see the bottom, there are dozens of crayfish shells, partial shells actually, indicating that someone, raccoon or otter, had a lobster fest before the pond froze last fall. Around the base of the pine trees many of the cones are torn up, somebody else had a pine nut feast, squirrel, raccoon, opossum or porcupine or all of the above.

I spent today doing yard and garden clean up. First I did the driveway. The snow plowers always push a lot of gravel with the snow down the driveway and off the wall at the end. I gathered it up and raked it back in place. Then I played pick-up-sticks and leaves and pinecones. It came to about ten wheelbarrows full, and it all took about 7 hours. It doesn’t sound like so much, but my back thinks it was a big job.

A lot of the yard above the pond is usually wet from drainage off the hillside. Now that water, which is still frozen, is causing huge frost heaves. Huge meaning ridges of sod covered ice raised up to 10 or 12 inches above ground level. When you walk on these ridges they crack as the ice breaks underfoot. The turf can slide across the surface like a small area rug on a polished floor. Where the ice has melted the surface it more liquid than solid. Tree roots can be heaved out of the soil. I will post a few pix when I have broadband access.

The only things in bloom are the snow drops. Daffodils and daylilies are up about an inch. Shrubs and trees show swelling buds, but real spring action seems a long way off. How’s that for a juicy diary posting?


AF said...

not sure about that previous comment. . . . i have a feeling it's not from a garden lover.

i worked like a dog (a real dog, not one of your pampered pets) in the backyard this weekend. thinning bamboo mostly. if you need any bamboo just let me know; i've got stacks of it, some up to seven feet long.

every march/april i worry that nothing's going to come back from last year. this spring that fear has been exascerbated by the lack of rain, so yesterday's steady drizzle was a boon. i can't wait to get back out tomorrow (when i'm not in the city) to see what's up.

forsythia are looking good. and as always, every surface in the backyard not covered by grass is ankledeep in marsh marigolds. i can't believe they sell the stuff in vermont!

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