Journal for April 2, 2019

Spring is coming!  Our mountains of snow are nearly gone, and today we’re seeing a mix of spring showers and bright sun.

A month ago, there was so much snow that we had snow cliffs along the creek,


and frosty trees on cold mornings.


There was a snow mountain outside the back door – more than half way up the door.  The chunk of snow next to the wall is one that fell off the roof.


Finally the snow started to melt.  It turned the driveway to ice,


and we had some very slippery, misty mornings.


After days of warm temperatures and a few inches of rain, the snow finally slid off the shady side of the roof.  Mike had to clamber over the mountain to get to the tractor so he could move the snow away from the door.


The wetland melted into pools.


The stream-beds filled.


The creek rose almost to the tops of the snow cliffs.


Sumac Bluff overlooking Waumandee Creek


Blackbirds arrived just before the snow melted.


These first arrivals are all males.  They spend their time defending territory so they can have a spot staked out when the females arrive.


Willows are starting to bloom.


And now our trails are melting, making it easier to walk.


Muddy driveway – easier walking now that the ice is gone.


The snow disappears very quickly on the upper prairies,


and even faster on the south facing bluffs.


Tundra Swans flying north


This is the savanna area we cleared last fall – it’s nice to see it again.  It’s been too snowy to get up here since the beginning of the winter.


In the last few weeks, dozens of deer have been spending the night on the hill above the house.


Here they’ve moved onto Buffalo Ridge – I counted 26 deer in this photo.


When I came too close, they ran down the slope into the valley below.


The Infant Moths are flying – we saw the first ones on March 24th.  These are day-flying moths – one of my favorite signs of spring.


The first butterfly – a Mourning Cloak on March 29th


An Eastern Comma on the same afternoon.  Both these butterflies spend the winter as adults, hiding behind bark or in brush piles, so they’re ready to fly as soon as the weather warms.


And – another first for the year – I put up my moth lights and attracted about a dozen moths.   This one is a White-spotted Cankerworm – a terrible name for a pretty moth.  This is a male – the females don’t have wings.


Some days we still get dustings of snow, but they disappear as soon as the sun comes up.


Here half the valley still has snow, but the sun has melted it it farther up the hill.


It’s so nice to be able to sit on our bench again.