Spring Arrives in the Northern Woods

In more southern places, spring is well advanced and moving towards warmer days. Here in the northern woods, we are seeing our very first spring blooms. These are ephemeral visitors, here today and gone tomorrow. This marks my 30th spring in this place, and I have learned some spots where the spring flowers make their appearances. I took my camera on my walk today to try to capture some of these fair weather friends.

Fiddleheads! Some are edible - and quite tasty. These are not. I know a man in the neighboring town who holds that a spring feast of fiddleheads is one of the good things in life. He has also been a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast, where his alter ego is named Fuzzy Fiddlehead. These are fuzzy fiddleheads.

Once when out on a walk, I encountered an Asian woman digging fiddleheads from our property. I told her that I was the property owner, and was willing to share, but would appreciate it if she asked first. She wouldn't even look at me. She finished digging up the clump she was working on, put the fiddleheads in a basket in her car, and drove off. She had a LOT of fiddleheads. So many people think that what is in the woods is for the taking...

Spring Beauties - lots of them out today. Can you see the delicate pink lines in the flowers? These are quite small, about a half inch across when open.

A treasure - Dutchman's Breeches. These are not at all common. They grow in particular spots, usually near a rock. They last no more than a couple of days. They are also hard to photograph, because they are so white. I wish this picture was better.

I have a rather strange very early flower in my gardens called Pulmanaria, or Lungwort. It changes colors as it develops from a rosy red to purple to blue. You can see all the stages of color in this picture. The bees like this plant after they come out.

As the first spring flowers push up from the earth, the animals are waking up. I drove over a large snapping turtle today on a busy road. I did not kill it, but I don't know if it survived its passage across the asphalt. We saw a lovely large frog sitting on the gravel road. And the black flies came out today.

Stringfolks is singing about black flies this year -

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black flies no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly a'pickin' on my bones
Way up in North New York, New York, way up in North New York.

It's a catchy melody, and our audiences are going to love this song.


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