Coronavirus spring update

We cannot go our usual walks at the arboretum to watch the wildflowers unfolding this spring, as it has closed, along with many other local areas. So the best I can do for now is a tour of our back yard, which we have transformed over the years from a euonymous-covered mess to garden beds, a rain garden, and a rock garden. As we are stuck at home for the most part, we take great pleasure in the garden and the birds who come there. We have lots of goldfinches just now, and it seems a good number of juncos have decided to stay here for the spring. And white-throated sparrows, doves, house finched, wrens, and the chickadee inhabitants of the wren house. I think they have fledged their first clutch already. Upcoming projects include ridding our front yard of grass (see Dennis in photo below) and busting out the concrete that underlies the back part of the rain garden, a reminder of the house’s first owner’s love of concrete.

Dennis continues the front yard grass-removal project
Rain garden with Celandine poppies
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Lockdown news

Heard that St. Louis may be on lockdown next week over the coronavirus business.

So, the important news: As I was working today with the window open I heard the happy sound of chickadees. Ran downstairs and spotted two chickadees going into the wren house carrying nest materials, so we will have some residents. They build such a beautiful nest with soft leaves and mosses. Last year they raised 2 or 3 clutches. I heard killdeer flying over this morning, sure sign of spring. And there is a true bug living on the parsley plant we have inside in a south-facing window.

Garden last July, 2019
Garden last September, 2019
True bug on parsley plant in south-facing window, March 2020
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Well. The coronavirus has given me time to catch up. How quickly life is changing- all my colleagues now working from home, kids not going to school, stores and gyms closed, meetings cancelled or postponed. Everything changes- I am curious to see where all this will leave us. Dennis calls the suggested social distancing measures to slow the rate of infection in the population the ‘introvert’s revenge’, and it does, frankly, suit me and my like-minded friends who are happiest when alone.

In the natural world outside the virus: I took off the first week of March to help Dennis prep our gardens for spring. Raked up all the old leaf cover, picked up 8 yards of leaf mold and weeded and spread it over the beds. Ginger is coming up, and aquilegia, celandine poppy, wild geranium, iris, Jacob’s ladder, tradescantia. Still very young, but busting to grow as the weather warms. Forsythia and golden current leafing out.We put up the wren house and have witnessed a wren look it over for a potential nesting site. Time will tell if they move in and raise young. It would be nice if they did, since the wren will chase of some of the squirrels who love to dig in our gardens. The male goldfinches are beginning to show their brilliant yellow spring plumage and the woodpeckers are drumming out mating songs on hollow limbs and metal posts.

Went to the arboretum with my sister when she came for a visit at end of February. Things are slowly coming to life out there as well. I am grateful for these treasures to anchor me in these crazy and sometimes mean times.

River des Peres in Forest Park, November 17, 2019
2/29/2020: Glade at the arboretum in the afternoon sun
March 15, 2020: River des Peres, Forest Park
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Full moon, December 11, 2019

A marker in the strange times we live in. Would that this full moon marks a turn for the better in national and international political affairs. Though I am an avid follower of the daily churnings of news, I would have to stop if not for the natural world. Looking forward to a Christmas walk in the woods.

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Arboretum, 10/20/2019

At the arboretum we saw woodpeckers carrying acorns from a free-standing bunch of pin oaks to the woods across the way to stash the acorns against the winter months. We noticed this behavior a few years ago, and ever since have been mindful of this autumn preparation. Rich smells, warm colors.

One of many groups of Southward-flying geese we saw
Persimmons ripening but still bitter until after first frost.
This woolly worm appeared to be waiting for the sun to warm the air and dry the grass before he descended his stick of grass.
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The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs

Our neighbors, Stephanie Schlaifer and Arny Nadler, had an open studio today, where I learned of Stephanie’s work, based on visualization of her poetry. A striking work, via the link above.

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Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars

This year we have blck swallowtail caterpillars. I witnessed a black swallowtail laying her eggs on the parsley we have planted in pots, and have kept my eye on the development of the four cats. They move from one stage to another in a matter of days, and yesterday I noticed one has reached chrysalis stage. Here are some stages of development:

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