Spring Times Two: Babies and Wildflowers

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The old adage in northern Minnesota when it comes to seasons is that we don’t really have seasons. Rather, we get “winter, mud season, and a week of summer.” But really, it seems we have two sorts of springs up here in the Northwoods. The first spring comes with a trickle of water, a nub of pussywillow, when the snow begins to recede. With a chilly promise of green and growth, the first spring ushers in the dreaded mud season when the outside world become a mess of muck and dead grass.

Then, a month or two later, the second spring materializes. When things are actually green. When wildflowers start to peep out from the forest’s floor.

Gradually, we’ve been entering into that lovely second spring when it starts to seem like summer might really be coming after all. The strawberry and blueberry plants have been flowering for a couple weeks. I know people have been seeing violets up here for a while now, but I didn’t stumble across my first one of the year until Andy and I were out punting about for morel mushrooms on Sunday.

(No morel luck: not even false ones. Despite getting a bit of moisture last week, things remain pretty crispy out in the woods and on Sunday, I crunched my way through what was last year a very fruitful field of blueberries.)

If you spy a blooming violet, chances are your gaze will fall on a clump of wood anemones. These equally miniature spring wildflowers (violets and anemones are probably only about 4 inches above the ground) are out in full force. I love finding wildflowers and pointing them out to others, but goodness “anemone” is a hard word to say. I always feel like I’m trapped in Finding Nemo when I yell out to Andy that I found “an anemonemone. Amnemonemomne.”

As we drove home from the ill-fated morel hunt, we spotted a yearling moose beside the road. That must mean that Mama Moose has had this spring’s baby (or babies – they seem prone to twins.) When the new babies arrive, the yearling moose who have been hanging out with Mom all winter get the boot so Mom can devote her time to her infant(s). Oh, the joys of being an older sibling.

With this second spring promising summer, Andy’s been busy getting the gardens all set for the summer planting.
It’s looking really good.

Meanwhile, I’ve done a second seed planting inside to hopefully make up for all the seeds that didn’t sprout the first go-around. I’ve always had a soft spot for Four O’Clock flowers, so of course everything else I planted sprouted while the peat pots with the Four O’Clock seeds have just sat there and rudely sprouted a couple strands of grass and nothing else. We’ll just give that a second try, shall we.

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