I will admit, this morning I had a bit of a bad attitude about this. Not because I don't like spring, but because it hasn't been especially spring-like around here. In the more deeply shaded parts of our yard, there are still stubborn patches of snow. This is depressing and infuriating. I don't who I'm furious with- Old Man Winter? Have any of you seen that old cartoon with the bear cub who keeps sneaking out of his bed to go outside and play, despite Jack Frost warning him about Old Man Winter, who is creepy enough to frighten our children a bit? Hang on... Google to the rescue: "Jack Frost," from 1934. We have a DVD full of winter- and Christmas-themed cartoons from the '30's, each tragic/scary/deeply politically incorrect in its own special little way. Our kiddos actually love it, as do I.
Aaaaanyway. Old Man Winter. I hates him. I did a little poking around in our yard a week ago, sloshing through the lake that was our backyard on a rare warm day, and found nothing. No growth of any kind.
But today. Ah, today.
I know. I do this to you every year. But tulips! Those are the beginnings of tulip shoots! *Cue Hallelujah Chorus*
Adelaide was the one to spot them in a sunny flower bed in our front yard, making her Favored Child of the Day. It wasn't until I saw these that I remembered planting bulbs in this particular location last fall, in a bed otherwise devoid of tulips, or much of any spring-blooming flowers at all. I'm kind of thinking these tulip blooms are supposed to be... blue-ish? Gracious, that can't be right, can it? Quick, someone check and tell me what I was doing (or burying, as the case may be) five months ago, because for the life of me, I can't recall.
We also found the beginnings of some yarrow I planted last summer, late enough in the year that it never did bloom. I'm curious to see what colors we end up with, as this was sold as a "Summer Pastels" mixture. (Why do I feel such delicious anticipation over yarrow? Is there something wrong with me? Or has this just been an abnormally brutal winter?)
And see that wee little bit of plant, gently tickling my thumb there, all pretty pink and the palest of greens? That, my friends, is the beginnings of the lenten rose I planted late last spring. I'd been wanting a hellebore for a few years, and finally planted one last year, but late enough that it was past its flowering time. I know that hellebores tend to be among the earliest spring bloomers, so I've been checking and checking the spot I'd planted it and not finding anything. I was beginning to feel resigned: it was such a cold winter, and such a young plant, and maybe its location wasn't ideal, etc, etc, when this very morning, the first day of spring, LIFE. I found this tiny little shoot, and decided life is worth living. Or something.
And now, a question.
We find a number of eggshells in our yard and on our sidewalk throughout the year, but most are small, about the size of a robin's egg. This one, however, was much larger than any we've ever seen around our house; that big piece is about the size of two 50-cent pieces.
And immediately overhead, in the giant pine in our front yard, is that nest.
And zooming in, there it is. From my vantage point on the ground, I estimated it's at least a foot in diameter. So, any national geographic-types reading this, or bird lovers, or just anyone who knows more about birds than I do (which would be pretty much anyone anywhere ever): Any idea what kind of bird we have possibly inhabiting this nest, starting a big bird family? (Not to be confused with a Big Bird family, as we live on a numbered avenue, not a street named Sesame.)