The two goldfinch feeding on my thistle were an harbinger of spring.  They fed for a few minutes until my dogs scared them away.  Every early spring they come in droves.  Sometimes there are over a dozen at one time, many on the ground.  Spring is still five week away;  but those two birds gave me hope the warmer weather was too far away.

The snow did not hurt the crocuses. A number of them were about to bloom before we received the late snowfall. A miniature daffodil was blooming before we got the snowfall. The snow just insulated them. The daffodils are blooming,gain, once the snow melted and today we have four bunches of crocuses blooming. The snow did not hurt them at all.

Six days ago after I noticed the first bed of crocuses were coming up, now I noticed daffodils and the first hyacinths are also on their way. Now I am counting the weeks and days to spring and walking the garden every day to see what is coming up next.

I spotted a piliated woodpecker in our yard pecking away on a tree fifty feet away.  I had never seen one in our yard before.  I quickly called my wife to view it.  She had never seen one before.  She grabbed her camera and got several good pictures of it with her zoom.  The woodpecker stayed on that tree at least an half hour.  Today I kept looking at that tree expecting it to be there but it wasn’t.  It is rare to see one.  You usually hear their wild cackle.  And not them.  It is an exotic looking bird about fifteen inches tall and with a long red crown.

I actually took two layers of clothing off when I was outside. Spring is two days plus four weeks away. I checked the eight day forecast–every day was the fifties and sixties. I could not believe it. We only had one extended freeze this winter. Is there any more cold weather in the future. And snow?!  What a warm winter so far!

The biggest discovery today was in my garden. One patch of crocus was about a quarter inch high. It is only February 13 today. Spring is coming, spring is coming!

There were two notable discoveries the last two weeks.  First I saw my first Monarch butterfly in several years on our property and the other discovery was a large box turtle in the backyard.  That was the first one I saw in a few years in our yard.  It could have been six inches long.

Twice we saw a doe and her twin fawns. They were almost in the same stretch of road we often take to go onto the major highway. There are lots of woods in this area and we never know when we will flush a deer. We drive slowly through it particularly when one deer shows itself.  There is often another one behind that one.

The Titmouse or Tufted Titmouse (two names for the same bird) are very common yet I never saw a nesting spot for it.  We were pulling in the driveway and I saw a titmouse fly out of a hole in a tree about five feet up across the street.  I investigated and another one flew out of the hole in the tree.  It must have a nest there.  That was a first.  I never found a nesting spot of a titmouse before.  I really do not want to disturb them any more than I have to.  I will just keep my eyes open for that hole in the tree.

I never knew what Coco, one of our dogs, caught.  She and the other two dogs were having their last “out” of the evening.  I thought, at first, Coco had a bone in her mouth and would not drop it to get her evening biscuit.

I realized it was more than that.  It was alive although I could not tell what creature she had in her mouth.  The lighting was not too good.  First I thought she caught “Oscar” our “local” rat but the animal had fur.

I grabbed the animal out of her mouth and it lay in front of the door.  My wife was screaming, “Get it out of the house!”

Finally I scooped it up with a cat scooper and dropped it over the fence onto our driveway.  At the same time one of our cats got out.

Seconds later I got a flashlight and shined it on the spot I dropped the animal.  It was nowhere to be seen.

It is possible the animal was just stunned (Coco has retriever blood in her) or the cat grabbed it who escaped.  My wife thought the animal might have been a baby squirrel.  I will never know for sure.  I felt bad for the animal hours (an hour) later.  There was nothing else I could do.

The rat I called “Oscar” was very cautious.  He lived under our concrete porch.  I would watch for him from our large living room window.  He would dash out five feet and feed on the spilled sunflower seed from our feeder overhead.  He would only spend a few seconds feeding and immediately dash back to the safety of his entrance.


He would sometimes share the space with the squirrels.  Once he actually briefly rubbed noses with a squirrel and then there was a brief tousle and both creatures fled the scene.  Sometimes he chases the squirrels away.  I never watched a rat so closely.  I have seen mice before but this is the first I have ever seen a rat.  I am concerned where he will go if we block his openings.

For a short time all the trees were covered with snow.  It was April ninth and we had a “dusting” of snow–an inch or two.  It was not unheard of:  a snow “storm” this late in spring but it definitely was unusual.  The trees did not stay white too long.  I am waiting for the warmer weather to return.  And it will.  The forecast for my birthday less than a week away called for sixty degree weather and clear skies.