There are many ways to tell we are just over 26 days from the turn into spring as I write this post. This past morning was cool but not cold. I noticed this as I went outside in my stocking feet to take the photo below. The sun was pushing these clouds ahead of its golden warmth.
We had a high of 56F by mid-day. Rain is, of course, predicted as this warm air moving in meets the colder air. I rushed to put on gardening clothes and spent several hours cutting away the dried stalks of perennials and pruning back the smaller shrubs. I pulled dead annuals such as last summer's zinnias and saved the roots for this summer's class with children about root structure and size. I took a hoe to the small annual cut flower bed and had to remove 80% of the chickweed that carpets the entire bed in lime green. There were dozens of small larkspur plants from last year's seeds fighting for space with their ferny leaves. I will have to go back in a week or so and hand pull those chickweeds in between. I was ruthless in removing the black eyed Susan as they grow everywhere in other beds.
While weeding near the hellebores I noticed that the sapsucker had braceleted the sugar maple's trunk sucking up the returning sugars. I made a note to try and hide somewhere to get a photo.
By noon the storm was moving in from across the river, and I was tired.
I had not I finished 50% of what I had hoped to complete but two and half hours of work was the best type of exercise I had had all winter. I was glad to see the disturbed ground worms as I pulled up the excess of fennel plants. I worked to the rhythm of the woodpeckers drumming in the tulip trees. The only thing missing was the smell of earth, maybe not warm enough yet? I did not rake the leaves and detritus as we usually still have ground freezes ahead of us.