The Daily Muse

A GardenJournal -- February 2002

Last Update: February 16

Not my garden! Unfortunately. Just a beautiful image from the Virginia countryside

February 4 - evening

It is a cold February evening, we have a fire burning down to embers in the fireplace and the cats are all bundled together in assorted fur-piles. It has been a very quiet time in the garden, but soon all of that will change- despite the chill, I am beginning to feel the surge of excitement that comes with the approach of spring. The buds are swelling on our fruit trees, I've seen quince blooming in the neighborhood, and the wildflowers are spreading their rosettes across wide swaths of our garden. I just finished writing an article for The Goodlife magazine that urges the reader to slow down and savor time spent in the garden- yet here I sit, anxiously longing for the spring. Human nature is a funny thing- cats seem to have it right: relax, get comfy- there's time enough for everything.

February 10 - morning

It turned chilly again overnight, but yesterday was glorious- a cloudless sky and spring-like temperatures. I was able to get out in the garden and really work in it for the first time in weeks. I have had so many deadlines and obligations that the garden was beginning to feel like a neglected friend. I had enough time to do some weeding, clean up our perennials, rake up some more leaves, and rinse out the pond's filters- a little spring cleaning. It felt so good! The best part of the day was taking a few moments to sit in our 'possumhaw hollow' and just enjoy the view of a newly spruced up space. Today, we will prune our fruit trees, and maybe, raid our former garden for a few more perennials.

Last week, my parents came over from Houston to visit with us and to attend a benefit concert for The Seton Cove that I helped organize. I was anxious for my Dad to see some of his creations in our garden. Dad is a very skilled carpenter and he created some 'Painted Churches' birdhouses for my garden that are absolutely beautiful. They are now ornamenting our fence and are awaiting their first customers. My father is a quiet man, but his creations speak very clearly about his love and talent. I am so pleased to have those physical reminders of his love gracing our garden's walls.

(To learn more about my Dad and his influence on my gardening, read my Father's Day tribute to him in the 'Library.')

February 16 - morning

A few nights ago, as I was taking my last walk around the garden, screech owls started to call to one another from the surrounding trees. First one, then two, then three owls added their strange voices to the chorus. I felt as if I had been snared, hypnotized by the exotic sounds coming from the hidden corners of the neighboring yards. I stood listening to them, trying to make out their forms in the tangle of branches. Finally, I left the garden to them hoping that they would check out our unoccupied owl nesting box.

The next morning, I stepped out into the garden and the first thing that caught my attention was the chattering of the chickadees in the tree tops. I turned my attention upward and noticed several V formations of large birds flying north. They disappeared before I could retrieve my binoculars, but I thought they were raptors. I have never heard of hawks flying in formation so I still don't know what to believe . Their presense and direction, however, are a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

As I write this, the sun is coming up over my shoulder. I have to run, as per usual, another busy day awaits. I hope that sometime during the day I'll have another chance to visit with the birds. I wish the same for you.

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