|Bleeding heart, April 22,2017 (Margo D. Beller)|
However, some surprises are not so delightful - the purple flowers of the ground ivy in the lawn look nice, but the ivy supporting them will get everywhere in the lawn and my flower gardens. I will have to yank out what I can but it never really goes away.
There is also the garlic mustard. My book on weeds and their uses says you can cook the leaves of the plant when it is small, but I'd rather not.
|Lenten rose (Margo D. Beller)|
|Ground ivy flowers in front lawn (Margo D. Beller)|
I enjoy the flowers on this tree, the last of five apple trees that were on the property when we bought it and the one with the best apples, which is why it was not cut down when the sour apples of the other trees drew too many squirrels and deer not particularly neat in their habits.
Last year, weather circumstances were such that we did not have many apple blossoms. Each flower represents a fruit. This year, however, we have lots of blossoms and that means I will be making lots of apple sauce - if I can get to the apples ahead of the squirrels, the birds, the deer and a new nemesis, the bear.
Last August, a bear nearly destroyed my pear tree while trying to get the one pear hanging from it. It was not successful. That was the last (so far) in a string of bear attacks going back to March 2015 after more than 20 years of my living in this house.
This year, despite cutting down two parts of the trunk and then my botching the pruning of the upper branches last summer, there is not only growth but the most flowers I've ever seen on this tree.
Oh boy, more pears, too.
I remember being very happy after I picked last year's pear that the few apples on the tree were gone by June. This year, however, I can expect the bulk of the apples to be ready to pick, or drop from the trees, in late June or early July unless we have a particularly hot May or June that brings out the thirsty squirrels. In the past if they happened to drop a usable apple, I'd save it. If they took a bite and dropped it, which is often the case, I would either throw it out or into another part of the yard for any creature to find.
Now, I have to factor bears into the equation.I won't be throwing apples into the corner of my yard this year.
|Apple blossoms (Margo D. Beller)|
The blossoms and apples draw insects and the insects draw birds, including migrating visitors such as the Baltimore oriole, ruby-crowned kinglet and warblers of various types. The regulars - cardinals, titmice, house finches, jays, chickadees - are always around in it, too.
And then there is my special visitor, the house wren.
Every year, when I read reports of house wrens appearing in areas close to mine, the wren box comes out. Then I wait.
|Wren house, 2017 (Margo D. Beller)|
I got my answer this morning as I was photographing the apple tree and heard the house wren's gurgling song.
It is hard to describe the song of the house wren. It's not like the "tea kettle, tea kettle" and other repeating calls of its cousin, the Carolina wren. The house wren is a very plain little brown bird, but it will build a nest in just about anything, and the wooden house I provide in the shelter of the apple tree must look very appealing.
|2017 house wren (Margo D. Beller)|
So when the wrens fly off and the apples ripen I must hope no bears will do to the apple tree what last year's did to the pear tree, which was not pretty.
Yes, I know, the apples are just sitting there and if I didn't use them they would feed all sorts of animals, and the bear is just doing what bears do when presented with a meal in inhabited areas like my small town, be it in a Dumpster, garbage pail or a fruit tree.
|The roar of the spring blower. (Margo D. Beller)|
Now, there's bear.
My city friends think I am nuts - yes, car alarms and gun shots at 3 a.m. are far worse than the drone of any early-morning lawn mower - and my rural friends already contend with bears as well as bobcats, coyotes and many more wild animals, all coming to a wooded area near me soon enough thanks to shrinking habitat and encroaching housing developments.
I'll just have to be faster to the apple tree this year and hope for the best.