Signs of Spring and Hungry Rabbits

Looking over the photos on my phone, I begin to understand why I haven’t written much this winter. I have a lot of photographs of my icy sidewalk as I struggled to keep up with it. Several years ago the city required us to replace our sidewalk, and the inspector who came out insisted we lower it. We did. There has been runoff onto our sidewalk after heavy rain ever since, but it was not a problem until last month’s weird storm. The sidewalk was still extremely warm when it hit; I took the last set of icy-sidewalk photographs on February 21, and by the following day it was melted. Finally. All that fretting scraping and chipping gave me a chance to keep an eye on the witch hazel.

December and January were apparently not cold enough to prepare the witch hazel for a January 31 bloom date.

Witch hazel flower buds, almost ready to open. Photographed on February 9, 2022.

A week later, they started to open, despite the iced-over snow that was still blanketing the ground.

Witch hazel unfurls at barely above-freezing temperatures. Photographed on February 16, 2022.

We are now into sap-running season. It starts the last week of February, usually about February 23, and the squirrels are up in the silver maple gnawing on bark and lapping up sap.

By the first weekend in March, the witch hazel was in full sun-worship mode.

Witch hazel enjoying the sun. Photographed on March 5, 2022.

While you may argue that “enjoying” is anthropomorphizing, you have to admit that they do look like they are really enjoying the sun. This was a somewhat warmer day, so their scent was carrying on the breeze.

Underfoot, the snowdrops were erupting through the leaves.

Snowdrops in bud, poking through last autumn’s leaves and a reminder that it’s not spring yet. Photographed on March 8, 2022.

The snowdrops may well bloom tomorrow.

Snowdrops poking out of the debris under the hydrangea. Photographed on March 7, 2022.

The snowdrops that are getting a little more light are a little further along.

Snowdrops, ready to bloom. Photographed on March 7, 2022.

On the other hand, too much exposure is not great. There are a lot of rabbits out there, and they are quite hungry. Snowdrops may look worth a cautious nibble to a hungry rabbit, but they seem to be unpalatable.

Lightly gnawed snowdrops. Photographed on March 6, 2022.

Oddly, the rabbits have not yet gone after the dwarf irises, which came up just days ago. Those rabbits are well seasoned. They mowed the garlic and the chives after they ate the parsley in December. On the other hand, they are subsisting on the safflower seeds that the finches drop when they careen into the feeder.

On the plus side, there is a lot of bunny poop in the flower beds, and it doesn’t burn plants.