Ladyfisher

This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

March 29th, 2004

It's Spring

Snow is still flying in some regions across America, but with the first of April closing in, the snow will melt - hopefully giving some relief to areas which have been fighting drought. My dad use to say, "the sun is over the yard-arm, winter's gone." When we lived in the high-country in Montana, we did get snowed on every month of the year. It didn't last, some years just long enough to freeze my precious tomato plants, but that's one of the penalties of living at 6,500 feet - along with neighbors cattle deciding to take a short-cut directly through my garden, or my pet Pilgrim geese eating each and every little Brussel sprout off the plants. Actually, I think Castwell put them up to that one. He likes broccoli, hates brussel sprouts.

My husband, JC or Castwell, (I haven't changed husbands, he just has more than one name - we also have "pet" names for each other, but I'm not going to tell you what those are, I swear you would think we are even stranger than we really are) anyway, we have a little game we play every year when spring is suspected. There are two places within a few blocks of our home which grow skunk cabbage. One of the earliest green plants to show here - we get pussy willows, but I can't include them as green, skunk cabbage appears out of the wet ground (it likes swamps even better) with a couple leaves and then produces a bright yellow 'candle.' The leaves get huge in the summer and if crushed or stepped on smell like skunk. But the appearance of the yellow candles is really the biggie for us. The first one to spot the new year's skunk cabbage doesn't win a darn thing except to proclaim "It's Spring!"

We have other 'signs' which keep us from going over the edge, or drowning in the shack nasties. Canada geese appear over the pine trees, the trillium which we transplanted from a friends property has grown into a nice clump - about ten feet wide. I go out prospecting our yard to see what has poked their heads up - the domestic plants, tulips, daffodils, crocus, narcissus are all in bloom and the yard man has already cut and trimmed the glass once. It's time for him to come again. The wild plants seem to count more - ferns unfurling their new fronds, the mountain ash with no leaves, just the buds for the first sweet flowers. We have both wild and domestic rhododendrons. The wild ones bloom later (nature's built-in safety) and our whole neighborhood is nearly covered in pink blooms from red bud, plum and ornamental cherry trees. One street in town was pink the other day from the petals of dropped flowering trees.

There are real advantages in living in the Pacific northwest - early spring and the moderate year-round temperatures do account for things like Seattle being known as the "Emerald City," it really is green here. But like you, we long for the time when the air and water are warmer and insects hatch to waiting fish.

JC and I are gearing up for the Central Washington Fish-In, (April 29th - May 2nd) he found a new folding chair for me, and a dining shell which can be used over in Ephrata at the Oasis Park for a meeting place or somewhere to tie flies. The Fly of the Week this week is one which Linemender had great success with on Rocky Ford Creek - the Cream Spinner Midge, and we put it up in time for those attending to tie some up.

Rocky Ford will be our first trout outing of the spring - and while I'm there I'll make note of what the 'signs' of spring are over on the eastern plains.

Yes, I know "officially" it's spring - but in some parts of the country it really hasn't appeared yet. Have you been out poking about? What are your favorite 'signs'? Is it spring yet?

It's time to plan the outings which will make the memories for next winter. ~ The LadyFisher

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