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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