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Think Spring # 2
March 15, 2010

Daylight Savings Time.

What a great idea.

There is no getting acclimated to the extra hour of daylight in the spring like there is getting use to the loss of light in Autumn.

Nope, not for me.

Give me daylight on the night side where I can enjoy all of it.

All that remains are shrinking mountains of dirty snow in the parking lots.

Keet gets to go for longer walks with me and I get to enjoy walks without adding 20 pounds of winter gear.

No wonder there is a little bounce in my step these days when I go for a walk.

Ice on the local ponds has almost melted into a past memory (image to your right).

Late winter/early spring rains have swollen many of the creek and stream beds as you can see by the pictures to your right.

Rains also wash away the dirt and grime that accumulates over winter.

To which I ask......................

Where does it all come from?

If you have a chance to get to the Platte River in Nebraska in the next few weeks, you will get an opportunity to see as many as 500,000 Sandhill Cranes and more than a million Snow geese as they rest up for the remainder of their trip north.

This is one spectacle I want to see one of these years.

Spring continues to grow closer.

In baseball, Spring Training is in full swing.

Not only is it a time to hit and catch, but time to train the body as well.

Yes to get the body in shape for the long grind of another season.

Gardeners need some spring training too.

Take it easy out there.

As we get older, it is more important to stretch and limber up before you get out there and pull something that will hold you back for weeks to come.

Spring training also means to check your tools.

Are your blades sharp?

Do you need new air filters and spark plugs?

Do you know where your gloves and knee pads are?

Remember to take it easy the first few times out in the yard and gardens.

More and more birds are beginning to appear.

Red-wing blackbirds are here in masses now and American robins are regulars as well.

Canada geese are every where.

A few Killdeer are making their presence know too.

Fewer Dark eyed juncos visit my yard and the cardinals are beginning to disperse as they begin to jockey for territorial rights.

American goldfinches are definitely changing colors (images taken this past week).

Another tell tale sign of spring is the huge surge in road kill.

A few warmer days and just about every four legged creature is up and moving.

Eager to feed and for most, eager to procreate.

As tempting as it is to dig or play in the gardens, I know the soil is to wet and not ready for working.

Remember, wet soil compacts and compacted dirt isn't good for much.

A good soil is a mixture or about 50% earth and organics and 50% porous air pockets.

Now that may sound like a lot of air pockets to you, but these pockets allow for moisture to flow, roots to grow and oxygen for the roots to breathe.

Compacted soils are around 60 to 70 soil and the rest as air pockets.

Clay is even worse.

Remind me to do a letter on soil, will you?

From what I can tell, winter damage is at a minimal for me so far.

The rabbits have trimmed back to Butterfly bushes and a few other things like they do every year for me.

That is called making lemonade out of lemons....................

Taking advantage of instead of cursing the rodents.

Temperatures weren't as bitter cold as in recent years, so I am hoping on little winter kill.

We had a nice late winter/early spring rain to wash away some of the winter dirt.

How do things get so dirty during the winter?

Still, it is March and just about anything can happen in March.

Yes, March can bring us Severe Thunderstorms to late winter or early spring snow storms.

Still, Spring is in the air and in our hearts.

Several readers passed on what they look forward to about spring.

Do you have something you want to share?

Something you look forward to every spring.

I know we have readers from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.

From Washington state to Maine and every point in between.

Yes, all the Northern tier states and Canada, where spring may be late coming.

I'm sure you really have something you look forward to.

Care to share?

Return this letter with:

First name (last is optional)

City or region

State or province you live in.

Then let your friends and family know you are in a USA and Canada weekly newsletter.

Your time for fame :-)

Most of these were sent to me last week, so some things may not make sense today.

Here is what some readers share with you on what they look forward to about spring.


Sue from Tilton, Illinois

My favorite spring thing is walking in the woods taking pictures! Not the 20th yet but my favorite county park had a scheduled hike yesterday and even though there was some snow and mud on the trails it was so nice to get out in the fresh air.

Sue, there is something special about spring walks. Smelling the fresh air, listing to the birds sing and on warm days, you may spot an early butterfly.

Thank you for sharing.

Sandy in Albion, NY

Well if I ever see spring this year we just got about 2 feet of heavy wet snow over the past weekend so it will be awhile until I see the ground or my gardens.Spring is always a special time for me. I think of it as a new life just waiting to be born.The snow melts and flowers start popping up, the birds start coming back, the grass turns green and the April showers. I love when the peepers start then I know spring is really here. I've come to watch the birds also.

The Bluebird is my newest hobby. On March 18th last year I saw a male bluebird. I told the kids we were lucky because it was so close to ST. Patrick's Day. Well I had them nest an a (hosp) got to them. It was a big disappointed for sure. But, I don't give up to easily!

I love it when it starts to warm up and leaves are new, and birds singing,and you can smell the earth and the flowers on a breeze. I don't even mind mowing the lawn. It's not a chore.

It seems like it takes spring along to get to Upstate N.Y. but when it does it's beautiful.

Thank You Sandy.

You touched several bases from the Peeper frogs to the smell of a fresh cut lawn.

Don't forget the smell of earthworms, some don't like the smell, but it is a scent of spring too.

Spring is a full season to enjoy isn't it?

Carol in Kentwood, MI.

It's hard to decide what I look forward to most about spring. You mentioned the first crocus. Always a promise of much better to come. While I am hardly a well seasoned gardener, I continue to try to grow many of my own vegetables. So far I've been only moderately successful, but each year I look forward to getting my garden started.

The worst time for me is between snow melt and being able to work the earth. I start my veggies from organic seed and as the seedlings grow I want to get in the garden and get it ready for the transplants. Despite my less than stellar success rate I look forward to a new start and better harvest every year.

Thank you for sharing Carol.

Spring is always a season of promise and new beginning (Easter is coming).

Like any endeavor, gardening takes time and practice to improve and it sounds like you are on the right path.

Keep it up.

Lou from New Jersey

Thank the Lord! Finally some nice weather. Yes we did have a brutal winter. Snow piles were so high if we got one more big storm I wouldn't know where to put the snow. Quite a bit of snow damage, many pine tree branches down from heavy wet snow, broken branches on many of my nice shrubs.

Today 3/7/10 is beautiful, sunny 59 deg F. and should be in the 50's all week. This is the Lords payback for all those winter storms. Isn't it amazing how quickly He makes us forget, by blessing us with such great weather. I have spent my last two days outside just cleaning the yard up of debris and storm damage. Today my first purple crocus smiled at me and one lonely snow drop. Daffodils are only 2-3 " out of the ground, so a few days to go yet.

This is a tuff time of year because we gardeners have to restrain from getting too carried away because winter can still pay us a surprise attack well into April. Must admit though, my mood has greatly improved over how I felt last month. Birds are getting very active as the days go by. Singing is getting more every day and is so refreshing after the cold dark days of winter. The chase is on for many birds. Many signs of courtship is starting to show.

I look forward to planting my gardens. Can't wait to get my hanging baskets in order but still much too early for that but it's nice to dream isn't it? I've always looked forward to Spring, but after this winter I will very much appreciate the first start of Spring.


God is good and Spring brings new life (Easter is coming)

You are a good man for staying out of your gardens, restraint is a good thing to have.

Thank you for sharing.

Denise in Big Bend, WI.

Spring is surely in the air. I heard the Sandhill Cranes yesterday and my daughter said that by her house, a few miles away from our house, they have seen the Red Wing Blackbirds and Robins! The temperatures have been reaching up to 45 degrees and the sun has been shinning.

I always look forward to that first sound of the Sandhill Cranes, I love the unique sound that they make. I also love to see the first green sprouts of my flowers coming up. (Which they have ☺) It's also really exciting to see the first blossoms opening up, you always know that warmer weather is on the way. Thank you Denise.

It sounds like you are seeing virtually everything I am on the other side of the Lake.

Always something special about Sandhill cranes.

Amazing how warm 45 degrees can feel after a long winter.

Pat from Central Iowa

I just moved into my new house. LUCKLILY I bought the larger house next to my old house. I am looking forward to spring, so I can start moving many of my plants next door. A family member is moving into my old house, so I have all year to get this new place landscaped.

I worked on my other place for 8 years and have many plants that I can split so not much $ involved. It will really be fun. I have already moved most of my bird feeding areas that are not frozen down and most of the birds have been eating at their new feeding areas. I'm sooo glad because they give me so much joy, How can you have a bad day when you start it with a Cardinal on your deck?

Even the mud from the melting snow is OK...That means warmer weather and SPRING..SOON. I saw my first Robin today. Oh what a treat!!!

What fun Pat.

While moving is one of my least favorite things to do, Creating a new garden or wildlife habitat is right near the top. How fun to start with an empty slate and even better that you can snitch from the old house.

Always a joy to see and hear the first robin of spring.

Thank you.

Marti, Lake Milton, Ohio

I think the northerners are a bit more anxious for Spring. I am one of them.

We did have a few days in the low 40's and high 50's--and I went OUTSIDE!!!! And happy to be there and out of the house--even for a short time. We've had a ton of snow, and we're watching it melt slowly, especially the high piles.

So glad to see the snow melting instead of adding inches. Today we had our 2 yr. old granddaughter outside in the afternoon--she didn't want to come in to get ready to meet her dad! She had way too much fun blowing bubbles and kicking the snow around and she did artwork on the drive. hmm...must be in the genes-lol.

I can't even pinpoint anything in particular I love about spring-just the fact of getting out and roaming around, even with snow, like the last 2 days...looking at my perennials, mums, everything, and knowing how much fun it will be to play in the dirt again! Even the dandelions will look good :) It was a treat to go out and hear and see the birds instead of watching them from my living room. We're not out of the woods yet, we could get another odd storm, but right now it's nice to be out for a bit.

Thank you Marti.

Spring and grand kids, what a combination.

Our 2 year old grandson is much the same way. Did I say I was going to be a grandpa again in August?

Marti, I think some of our southern friends have a new appreciation for spring after this past winter

Brenda from Kosciusko, MS

"Ah, spring", I say as the rain beats down once again.... The clay we have for dirt hasn't been dry since one week last summer. The backyard can't be driven on and barely walked on. The dogs track in orange sticky mud that dyes the carpets and creates a nasty sneezy dust once dried out. A dust that clogs the best of vacuum cleaners and tries my patience every time. A dust that permeates the entire house and causes drippy noses, eyes and sneezing.

Yet...the first hummingbird feeder is up. I haven't seen one yet but Someone is sipping from it. They usually show up around the 20th, but that could be only when I've seen them show up. Not that I spend all day peering out the window but usually I hear the buzz of wings first as a familiar return bird says "I'm here now; feed me, make it quick and warm it up some!"

The greenhouse is beginning to fill up with seedlings 'hatched' on the dining room table under lights held up by saw horses. As the larger ones go out new ones are planted. Daffodils are blooming and started before the crocus as they always do here for some strange reason.

But most important of all is the emergence of those very tiny lavender 4-petaled flowers that peek out before anything else does. When I find one I find hope. When I find lots of them I KNOW we're really close. Sure, we'll always have that pesky April frost when I have to skitter to cover the elephant ears and all those delicate things that have started growing (most of them without my permission...), but the arrival of those very tiny lavender flowers means we've made it thru again. As I recall, they are also in Maine so may well be all over. They disappear in a few weeks only to herald the coming of spring the next year. Funny that they disappear right after Easter here....they are the lavender Easter color and are in the shape of a cross.....meditate on that one. Just like the pine trees that form crosses at Easter time with their new buds....yep. So, for me, the most special part of spring is the tiny (1" tall) flowers.

Brenda, you can keep the red clay, but let the Hummers know we are waiting for them up here.

You folks with greenhouses make me green with envy.

The only purple/lavender flowers I can think of are wild violets up here.

Anyone out there have the answer to this one?

Thank you for sharing from the deep south.

Barb in West Chester, OH (north of Cincinnati)

We have had a very cold, snowy winter for this area - we have gotten around 34" of snow, most of it in February - we usually don't get more than 10" all winter. Today I was outside working in my gardens for 3 hours - I was in my glory. The temp was in the mid-60's, and what a gorgeous day. I was clearing up some of the winter stuff and making sure the tulips and daffodils will be able to stick their heads up freely. So many flowers and plants are poking right up.

I love spring because it is the rebirth of plants and flowers and trees.... everything comes alive. My favorite little birds, the hummers, come back which thrills my sister and me.

Thank You Barb.

Take it easy on all the yard work, you don't want to do to much to early, and some of the leaf litter is needed for protection and for wildlife.

How I long for some 60 degree days.

As you read, the hummers are in the southern tier of states, so they are on the way.

Harv from Sterling Heights, Michigan

Of all my favorite thoughts of Spring, I think the sounds of a Tiger game on the radio grab me the most. Even though they're only pre-season it still has that sound of Spring . . . . . and Summer too.

Baseball was THE sport when I was a kid growin' up, and we couldn't wait to get home from school and get together at the ball field. Then too, there was always Opening Day with the Tigers. What a great excuse to skip a day at school. Yep, Spring is baseball, Ron. Always will be.

Thank you Harv, you always tell it like it is.

Ernie Harwell, Al Kaline, Norm Cash and the gang (I'm only a few years behind you).

New batteries and the transistor radio were about all a boy needed back then (besides a ball cap, bat, ball and glove).

Never made it to as many games as I would've liked, but old Tiger stadium still stands fresh in my memory.

Yes, the boys of spring and all of those bubble gum trading cards (extra cards made great noise in the bicycle spokes).

I could've retired long ago, had I kept those cards :-(

The last one today is from Sue.

Sue of Montgomery, Michigan

I have purple crocus up by the house blooming and fritillaria coming up. It may be strange, but I love the skunky/oniony smell of them. I have new plans for the container garden and just today I ordered some much needed panels for the green house. I heard robins singing today and the sandhill cranes are back.

I'm checking out a different area of the yard for the fire-pit and considering putting down a new patio area there. The gazebo needs a lot of repair as well, new screens and probably a roof. Busy, busy, busy, ya gotta love spring.

Thank you for sharing Sue.

Yes, along with all of the pleasures and enjoyment we get from Spring, there are also the reminders and repairs facing us.

Still, if I'm outside, the work doesn't bother us quite as much.

Spring is in the air.

Well, as you can see............

Spring is many things to many people.

New hope, new life, a new start, flowers, wildlife, gardens, fresh air, getting outside and even a new baseball season.

Spring offers much for many.

If you care to share, we still have a couple of weeks and I need to hear from you.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Next time we meet, it will officially be SPRING.

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

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

H. Jackson Brown Jr.


There goes that excuse out the window.

OLE tried and true.

I don't have enough time.

Where did the time go?

Time just slipped away.

Average people and some with special needs.

People that were told they were unteachable

People that marched to the beat of their own drummer.

People that became world changers.

Because they didn't listen to others and believed in themselves.

People that want to make a difference in the world.

Science, humanitarian, culture and art.

The list goes on

People we read about because they dared and cared.

People that stepped out of the norm.

We all have it.

You and me......................

The ability to step from our comfort zone and into what we believe.

I was close to 40 years old, before I finally understood the concept.

Now, I like being a bit different.

I like to learn.

I enjoy becoming the man that God always intended for me to be.

(Seeing self growth is exciting.)

Life is Grand

Life is full of challenges.

Life is meant to be met head on, not run from all the time.

You are reading this, you are blessed.

You can step out today and smile.

For some that is a big step.

Share your smile with friends and strangers.

Develop self confidence.

Believe in yourself, I do.

Until next time.

God Bless.

"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

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

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

Gardening For Wildlife.

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