False spring truly appreciated

This week the weather was uncommonly mild for February and then simply, delightfully warm. I’ve been able to walk by the pier without freezing my face off. All the snow is gone from the gardens and even the woods. The only snow to be seen is found in those granite-like hills when the plows pushed it to the edge of parking lots. Daffodils are now four inches tall and growing rapidly. Crocuses are up. But the first glorious blooms are found on the witchhazel at the food of our drive. Two thirds of the witchhazel is covered with airy golden flowers. The remaining third was killed by gypsy moths and has to be pruned off, probably today. We know winter will return, but that doesn’t make us any less grateful for the respite.


The cats have been out on the sunporch much of each day. They are frisky and mischievous. Even sweet Willow stole a cooked shrimp and ran off with it and then was proud of herself. We are worried about our middle aged cat Mingus. Something happened to his left eye. It’s ulcerated. The vet thinks maybe a scratch from the cats’ playing rough as they do. The vet gave us antibiotics he has to have put in it four times a day. If the eye has cleared by Tuesday, he will be fine. If not, he will have to have an eye operation. I really hope not. Having undergone several of those, I know how painful they are and how risky.


The first seedlings are out in the greenhouse. We haven’t needed to turn on the heater at night this week, although tonight might be an exception as colder air is supposed to creep in by late today. I started peppers and eggplants yesterday, but they won’t go to the greenhouse for more than a month. When they hatch, they’ll go upstairs to the livingroom bay window – it faces south. When I planned this house in 1970, I sited it to go into the hill on the bottom level and to have many south facing windows to warm the house in winter. On sunny days here, the furnace rarely goes on. Upon moving in, I planted a honey locust and a crab apple on the south side so they would not interfere with the sun in winter but would give shade in summer. The honey locust died three years ago unfortunately but the crab survives. Since the death of the locust, we have to use airconditioning in summer. After its death, it made many babies from its root system but none of them survived although we tried to coddle a couple of them.


We had a friend over last night for supper. His partner, who is Canadian, is back in Nova Scotia. He had an experimental operation months ago that aimed to cure his rare blood cancer and his HIV at the same time by transplanted marrow form a donor in Germany and completely killing his immune system for some months. He was in the hospital there for a long time, much of it in an induced coma, and since then has been in and out. Now he is hoping his doctors will give him clearance to come to the Cape. His husband, the friend we fed last night, has been there with him most of the last year, but because of visa restrictions, has to leave before six months are up each time. He always has a lot to do when he gets back here. He resigned as a selectman when his spouse was diagnoses with the raging cancer and prescribed the extreme treatment.


Woody has finished the dormant oil spray and today is going to do as much pruning as he can. Gypsy moths damaged much and the terrible drought last summer besides killing most of my roses, caused many branches to die off as trees and bush fruits cut back to survive.


This winter has been wet, luckily, with rain and snow in abundance. We are still in official drought but moderate instead of severe. The ponds have recovered quite a bit. Of course, the mild winter has been great for the ticks. You win some, you lose some.





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