Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring sniffing

Two Sundays ago I caught a cold. Violet and I snored in each other's faces all day and at times would wake up to watch the snow fall, big fat flat flakes that looked like postage stamps dropping from the sky. The following Sunday, I still had the cold but wanted to get out to Kansas to see if anything resembling spring was happening.....since it's spring you know...despite colds, more snow and chronic gray weather. I might have had a bad cold but I also had spring well as a case of cabin fever too.

When I got out there, the landscape was its usual winter gloomy state but at least the forsythia had turned yellow.

But still, there was soooooo much brown. I went looking for any spot of color but there wasn't that much to be least I found some evidence of life.

Some little raccoon had been busy washing something in the creek earlier in the week and left these perfect paw prints.

And a deer had stopped by and reached over and munched some daylilies coming up a couple feet away (like daylilies can ever be stopped...munch away Mr. or Ms. Deer).

I saw one tiny dogtooth violet on the path in the woods. Since Tilly and Bo were with me, when I got on the ground to take a photo of it, both dogs climbed all over me while I tried to cup the flower so they wouldn't crunch it. That's Bo providing the backdrop. You can't see Tilly but she had two paws on top of me and was leaning in hard over my shoulder to see what I was protecting. That flower didn't last long.

I started to see a lot of white dogtooth violets (also known as trout lilies, fawn lilies or by their Latin name Erythronium albidum). By then I was getting good at just reaching down and blindly taking photos before the dog helpers could notice what I was doing.

I saw exactly one mayapple coming up.

Finding this electric colored yellow-shafted flicker feather was my prize find of the day. Flickers are crazy colored enough but I didn't know they carried this extra bit of colorful craziness under their wings.

This is the same feather turned around. The yellow shaft of that feather really is that dramatic. It was not hard to find in those 20 acres of brown.

I found one, exactly one milkweed plant during my walk in the woods and took some of the seeds home with me to start indoors. My project this summer is to start a milkweed garden for monarch butterfly caterpillars and I'm curious to see what kind of milkweed grows in the woods in the shade under trees on top of a dry hill... I wonder if any butterfly even found it. Oh wait, it was on the path. Every thing and every body uses those paths through the woods. I learned that when I saw all those tracks in the snow this past winter (and they weren't all dog tracks).

But that spring discovery of a dried up milkweed (although it did have seeds!) was really just another photo of a whole lot of brown. My idea of zooming in with my camera so I could block out all the brown surrounding me and focus on what little glimpses of spring that was out there was not really working here.

However, this closeup of Bo asleep with his wonderful snoring dog nose makes me feel optimistic about the future.

I might not be able to breathe easily yet but I am hopeful it will happen soon when I look at a picture of a nose that is so extra good at it.