Sandhill Cranes hanging out in the field next door
There are a handful of Sandhill Cranes hanging around in the neighbor's field thinking that migrating is for the birds. But I'll bet those magnets in their little brains that the polar vortex tugs at will soon be pulling them northward. Temps in the 70's and Leap Year has so far only produced one lonely bloom from a yellow crocus along the walk to our front door. The other crocus, daffodils and tulips are not buying into this window of warm weather since morning temperatures have been around 20º F every morning despite highs in the 60's to 70 degrees during the day.
We took advantage of the warm weather to work on the garden. Laurie cut and cleaned up a lot of the dry foliage we leave for the birds and winter interest. I worked on the drip systems and soaker hoses, then I started moving a pile of bamboo I had cut out of the black bamboo grove to make the labyrinth last summer. I got frustrated with the elm trees blocking my path to the limb, started cutting elm trees out to clear the path, and ended up cutting a few hundred elm trees out of a 12 feet by 100 feet section along the south side of the property. The elm trees I cut down ranged in size from twigs to trees with 4 inch trunks that were 20 feet tall. Most of the trees had 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inch diameter trunks and were 8 to 12 feet tall. Since I cut down all the trees by hand with lopping sheers, a bow saw or an axe, I left the big trees with 6 inch to 15 inch trunks that are up to 50 feet tall for another day. I have to use a chainsaw, get a ladder, climb up into the trees and cut them down in sections so they don't crush other parts of the garden when they fall over. I was thinking I needed to hire the beavers to take out all the trees I removed — that would give them plenty of material for their dams.
Laurie brandishing sheers.
Laurie cutting dead foliage off a peony.
The beavers are still winning the war the Conservancy has been waging against them and their dams. I would willingly donate the fruits of my labor from clearing out all those elm trees to the beavers for their dam.