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Snippets, No April Fools
April 01, 2013

Thank you for your response and kindness on the Easter Letter.

To God goes the glory.

(New Wind Chime I put out Friday.)

Play Ball......

The call is heard across the land this coming week.

I for one, look forward to baseball.

Baseball was a big part of my childhood.

Have we turned the corner?

Has winter finally lost its grip?

We shall see.

Finally .............

My first small flock of Sandhill Cranes heading north.

Spotted these guys Saturday afternoon.

Like always, I hear them first.

They were flying high and in the distance, so the picture isn't the greatest.

No messing around today, they were on a straight path today.

Often Cranes will lollygag on their trips.

I was blessed this past week, with another flock of birds.

On my nightly walk, The largest single flock of Snow geese flew almost directly overhead.

Estimated well over 200 birds.

A dark and cloudy sky made for the prefect backdrop to spot the snow white geese.

As always, I hear them first.

Snow geese have a higher pitch and not as raspy honk as Canada geese.

Mid week graced us with a magnificent full moon (pictured below).

Once the snow melted and you spotted some gray or pink snow mold, don't panic.

Snow mold will flourish under certain conditions.

(Snow mold in my yard this past week.)

Damp and snow cover before the ground ever had a chance to really freeze.

Mild temperatures and extended periods of snow cover.

While garden centers may want to sell you products, it isn't required.

A rake and a bit of elbow grease to rake off the gunk and fluff the grass up to allow air to circulate.

you will have a bit of damage (stunted growth) for a few weeks.

Fungicides wont help now, they should be applied in late fall.

Snow mold isn't an issue for our warm weather friends, some of you i'm sure have mowed your lawn already.

As the weather allows, feel free to do some clean up, thatching, pruning and cutting back.

Make sure the soil is not too wet.

If you have participated in any kind of 'Spring Training' this year, sore backs and elbows will be at a minimum.

(Snow covered wasp nest.)

Lawn Thatch, seems to be a concern for most lawn owners.

Truth is, a layer of about one half inch (1.7 cm) is a good thing.

Thatch offers insulation, mulch, deters some weeds from germinating and a few other good things.

Only when thatch is more than one inch (2.5 cm) and more, does thatch become a lawn issue of choking out new growth.

Take a garden utensil or your fingers and see what your thatch issue is.

You may be all set, need help in certain locations, or call out the heavy machinery.

De-thatch to deep, and you are ripping up young roots and runners from last years growth.

Remember, a healthy lawn will have some thatch.

besides, birds want your thatch and yard debris for nests.

Just remember, to minimize traffic until your yards and gardens are dry enough to walk on.

You still have time to prune shrubs and trees.

Just remember, if it is a spring bloomer, you will want to wait till after blooming to prune or you will have no blooms.

It is always good to remove dead wood and branches that rub when you can easily see them.

In reality, pruning and shaping can be done year round.

Pruning isn't a winter only gig.

As weather and soil conditions allow, prune back perennials and ornamental grasses you may have remaining.

Don't cut back so close that you damage your plant crowns.

For grasses, it is wise to cut back to about and inch or two from the ground.

All to often you will see grasses cut back with dead and woody stubs that are 6 to 12 inches tall.

I never understood this either.

It's dead, cut it down.

The past few years, research shows it is wise and plant healthy to cut back close to the ground.

With grasses, the dead material impedes and even lessens new growth.

All the dead stalks can last for years and new grow is crowded out, choked out and a lack of sunshine makes for weaker plants.

Here in Southwest Michigan, American goldfinches are in full transformation from winter colors to their bright yellow breeding plumage.

It is another welcome sign of spring.

Robins are jockeying for position now, as they are here in force.

So many birds are singing, it is a delight to finally spend some time outside.

The first of a new month also means it is time to give you feeders and other bird supplies a good thorough cleaning.

Especially if you are putting certain feeders away for the season like we are.

Platform feeder, and certain specialty feeders will be cleaned and put away until next winter.

Other feeders and water sources will be deep cleaned and ready for another exciting spring.

If you need to get nest boxes clean or put out, you best get to it.

You may have already missed out on some species that were looking for locations before it was time to nest.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is positive thought for the week.

God bless

The Late, Great, 'Ernie Harwell', would quote this passage at the beginning of every Detroit Tiger Baseball season.

I felt it was appropriate for this week.

See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.

Song of Songs 2:11-12

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

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Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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