4.30.2010

A tiny bunny

How better to spend a lovely spring day than chasing something small, furry and defenseless hither and thither until it's been cornered... petted... and pictured. This little bunny made himself known after I'd been a real jerk and clipped his favorite boxwood, which grows at the base of a statue of St. Francis (of course).

4.29.2010

Home is a basket in a wreathe of leaves


Fire swept over Scranton's East Mountain this spring. Dry winds carried the scorched-earth smell over the city on great rolling smudges of smoke for two days.

When fire trucks began blaring up our street toward the woods bordering Connell Park, I worried about the hawks. This is the third year in a row I've watched a pair of Coopers or sharp-shins (I've never determined which) nest in a little sash of mature hardwoods that rests over our mountain ridge in South Side.

The female had not begun incubating yet, but I wondered how the smoke would affect them. She'd been staying close to the nest at that point - turning the sustenance her mate provided into eggs. I didn't see either bird for three days after the fire, but on the fourth, I could clearly see her black tail poking out of that great strong basket of sticks.

For now and for a while, there isn't much to see - just a barred tail, sticking out like a little gun barrel in a different direction each morning. A change of scenery, I suppose. What I would give to see the city from her point of view... I leave the window open at night to hear the wind and the rain, and I think of her swaying up there - sleet, lightning, sun and shocking heat.

4.23.2010

Cutting mix from the cold frames


April has yielded the first garden harvests of 2010 (unless you count overwintered leeks, which we've been pitchforking out of the ground since February). We seeded two cold frames full of mixed cutting lettuces, kale, arugula and spinach in mid-March, and salad is on the table now. Baby leaves sprinkled with a vinaigrette of last season's shallots, or new chives and tarragon... Yum!

This is the first spring that our espaliered apple trees have really started to develop some nice form and a bit of character. They are messy and pretty with blossoms, as their spurs aren't pruned until later in the summer. We'll be trying a spraying of Surround, an organic kaolin clay product, to prevent plum curculios from riddling and ruining our (tiny) apple crop.

It's hard to choose the Fondest Object of My Heart right now, but the Gavota tulips are competing strongly... For being such hot little numbers, these are actually very old! Some of them 10 years at least, having moved with me from my last home to Fig St.

gavota tulips