Spring Is In The Air

April 9, 2009

After having what is hopefully the last frost of the season yesterday morning, today beckoned bright and sunny.  And although I stood in line at a visitation last night for 2 hours, and my spine, heel, muscles, etc. are all complaining mightily today from the nerve pain and fibromyalgia, I just HAD. TO. GET. OUT!

Besides, I figured Toby needed a walk in the woods (or is that a splash in the creek?), so after morning chores were done outside, we headed out.

There are still lots of trilliums and spring beauty every where.  I noticed one trillium different from the rest, a sort of albino variation:

Trillium albino

Instead of the usual maroon colored flower, this one had light green.  It’s the only one I saw like that, though I obviously could have missed one somewhere else in the woods.

The ferns are starting to come out in force.  I like it when they’re little and curled up in little balls or like the fiddle heads.

Immature Ferns

Besides the immature ferns, there were bigger ones here and there, too.

Ferns

Of course, they’re not near as big as they’ll get when they are full grown, but it’s nice to see them showing up all over the woods.

Another favorite that is now popping up in colonies are the Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum). I’m not sure why they’re called Mayapple when the appear in April, but maybe somewhere more northern they actually show up in May.  Or maybe the fruit is actually mature in May.  Who knows?

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) Colony

The first year these plants only have one leaf and don’t bloom. The next year, however, the plants have two stems and develop a white flower that is up to 2-inches across at the junction of the two stems.

I didn’t see any flowers today, but I did see either an unopened bud or one of the little “apples” that develop from the flower.

Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum)

It’s hard and green and not very big yet. 

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) immature fruit

When the fruit of a Mayapple is ripe, it’s bigger, yellow and soft.  It’s also edible, though the rest of the plant is poisonous, and the immature fruits are cathartic.  I don’t think I’ll try them out.

We’re also heavy into the pollen season here, with trees puffing out pollen at an alarming rate!  The pond gets a scum of yellow.  The driveway turns yellow.  The cars are coated in yellow.  (I asked the Cave Geek what you get when you cross a car with a tree.  He said, “A cart.”  Okay, I’ll let him chalk up a point for that one. . . )

I know the proper name for these is a “fruit cluster” but it doesn’t look like fruit to me.

Tree Fruit Cluster

I think it looks more like fairy wings.  Maybe they use them for gliders when humans aren’t looking.

Of course, new flowers and pollinating trees aren’t the only signs of spring.  The birds are building nests, and in fact, some already have babies.  I also noticed this morning that our guineas are starting to nest.

Guineas and nest.

If you look close, you can see not only the guinea in front of the nest, but the one behind.  Our guineas always team up and have at least two on a nest and parenting the subsequent keet brood.

Here’s the front door to their nest:

Guineas nest - front entrance.

And here’s the back door:

Guinea nest - back entrance.

When I peeked inside, I saw there are 11 eggs.

Guinea Eggs

They probably aren’t done laying yet.  There’s usually anywhere from 18-36 eggs in a nest with two guineas, and sometimes over 50 if three or more guineas are sharing a nest.

What with flowers, pollinating trees and nesting guineas, it seems to me the signs of spring are everywhere!

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