Sunday, March 31, 2013

Barely Spring, With Glowing Skies

This past week has seen the beginnings of the spring melt.  We can finally see the gravel road in front of our house without the usual layers of snow and ice.  I suppose the muddy season will be upon us soon, though more snow will not be suprising.  You can still drive your truck on the lake, go ice fishing and sled down the hills.  This is the time of year to resist looking at my friends' facebook posts of the wonderful green spring pictures in their more southern climates. 
First Willow Buds

I haven't really started the summer annuals yet, but plan to start over the coming weeks.  I aim to only start planting annuals outside after the first week of June, so I can't let things get overgrown inside.

There is very little earth bared of the great banks of snow at present, but with more sun, we should see Pulsatilla and crocuses soon! 

Sundog over La Ronge
I got to see my first sign of spring today: the willow buds growing near Lac La Ronge.  Thanks
 to the iphone, I captured it as the dog dragged me on to more desirable sniffing grounds.  It was still rather cool out this afternoon, as the prismatic colors of the sundog (parhelion) attest.  Interestingly, there is a description of this phenomenon from the 1500s by the founder of the Hutterites, Jacob Hutter.  How did we ever live without Wikipedia?

I have been watching the skies with my camera at the ready all winter.  Most nights when there was any aurora activity noted on satellite reports,  we had snow and limited visibility.  I noticed some lights on March 29 though, and managed to see a great show from about 9:30 to 10:30 pm.  It was fairly early in the evening compared to other times that I have been out to see them.  Short after this, the moon rose above the horizon and the lights were no longer to be seen. 

Aurora borealis near La Ronge
This is the time of year to get seeds by mail order and dream about the garden-to-be.  I have finally found a great use for Pinterest, in which I only had a marginal interest up to now.  I have collected the pictures of all the annuals plants/bulbs/seeds that I plan to grow this summer on one "board" and started another board for a garden I will create in a future property (in a warmer climate - oh, the possibilities!).  I used to make a Word document with little jpegs all over it, but Pinterest has made this process simple.  I like to see all the annual plants on one page in order to plan the contents of the barrel pots and make sure that colors and textures are complimentary.  It is like a gardeners palette and I am finding it inspirational.  The paper and digital worlds sometimes come together too, like the weeping pussy willow I spotted in my garden magazine.  I "googled" it, found the picture from a garden center, "pinned it", and voila -- part of my future dream garden.  Many hours can be wasted at this.