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.


Leenie said...

Cats are such good company when you need a good nap. Glad Violet was there to help you through the worst of your cold.

Rowdy dogs bouncing and inspecting while your trying to just take a photo or two...hehe. Yeah, too much brown, the transition to green and color is always too long. But your land holds a lot of promise. Love the snoring Bo nose.

Country Girl said...

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.

I love that line.

Hoping you're feeling better very soon. I loved seeing everything you found - especially that feather.

Maureen said...

love these, did you see my hawk photo yet?

Maria said...

Leenie-Oh this cold is just going on and on and on. Even Violet is getting tired of it. This spring transition to green is taking a mighty long time. The magnolias and crabapples and Bradford pears might be in bloom but for some reason are just not doing it for me. There's a sincere lack of enthusiasm with the plant life this spring. :-/ But that snoring Bo nose is great, isn't it? :-)

Kate-Thank you for the nice comment. I wasn't sure how I was going to end the post because I don't like it when they start to sound whiny...which is what this one was starting to do until I put that wonderful dog nose in there. I'm never sure what photos I take when I'm out there and it was funny to see all those dog noses to choose from when I got back and uploaded them to my computer. Guess the nose and breathing was very much on my mind, consciously and subconsciously!

Maureen-I'm coming over right now.

Q said...

Happy Spring!
Love the Yellow Shafted Flicker feather...a gift for sure.
Hope you are feeling better.
April showers today hopefully will bring lots of green to your Kansas acres.
Your pup's nose made me laugh...

RSA Now said...

Wow that really is a dramatic feather! Great shots, it's always nice to see spring popping up places ;)

Maria said...

Sherry-That feather was a gift. I took it home and it sits in a little bowl with three oak galls under my computer. That feather still has that eery yellow glow. Just beautiful.

RSA-I know. I can't get enough of it myself. Doesn't matter who gets it first because I know I'll get the same concentration of pretty some time later. :-)