Here at Walkabout Studios, we don’t truck about with calendars. Well, we do, but only for unimportant things like reminders about the oft-ignored holidays, though when it comes to the important things like knowing when spring has arrived, we do it the old-fashioned way. Nope. we’re not talking about a Walkabouthenge (though that is a good idea, we’ll be looking into this,) but about the harbingers. And we have them, so go ahead and shift your wardrobe around – not the big piece of furniture, you can leave that where it is, but all those clothes inside it.
That there is a blossom, one of over a dozen, on the almond tree. Last year I started spraying the cherry and almond trees with deer repellent early on, with the result that both trees did much better, and achieved more new growth, than ever before – it appears that the deer were nibbling away far more than I thought. So this winter I’ve been maintaining the treatment, and whether this is directly related or not, the almond tree is notably in bloom right now. Yes, this is early, as it is for most of the plants and trees that are budding out, but no arguments on this end.
Alongside the greenhouse is a slapdash structure that I’ve dubbed the adjunct greenhouse, using old window sashes and sheet plastic, housing a few of the potted plants we’re trying to protect from cold snaps. Yesterday when I noticed that the sheeting had slipped a bit from the wind, I straightened it out and disturbed this guy, tucked within the folds.
This Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) is the largest specimen found around Walkabout Estates – I’d seen him numerous times last year – and likes the greenhouse area. I’m considering this one ‘official,’ even though I’d photographed one twelve days previously, because this one had little benefit from the house heat; the other clearly lived in or around the access door to the crawlspace and water heater, which remains warmer than the surrounding areas.
This is the gap along the edge of that door, and yes, it could use some more weatherstripping, but it only leads under the house and there’s plenty of insulation there, not to mention there are foundation vents along the walls, so it’s not exactly an energy loss. But the space is marginally warmer than the outdoors, plus a perfectly-sized gap for an anole, and this one (with one other at times last year) finds it a great place to nap. I just have to remember to check the door before I haul it open.
The green frogs (Lithobates clamitans,) as mentioned earlier, don’t indicate much, but while I was poking around
late last night early this morning, this one was sitting on the edge of the backyard pond and so I crept in while it was dazzled by the headlamp.
Its associate saw me approaching somehow and launched itself into the water, but this one remained motionless even as I crawled forward on my knees and elbows to less than a half-meter away – it’s probably used to this jazz by now.
However, none of those were what I was really after, nor the true sign of spring. It was warm enough this morning and I suspected that I might find one, but had largely given up, finding none in the usual spots. Then as I was checking the plants in the greenhouse (the real one,) I espied this guy through the glass on the outside.
That’s a juvenile green treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus,) and the best indication of spring as far as I’m concerned, though I would have accepted a Copes grey treefrog as well. You can keep your equinoxes and official calendar days and robins and all that – it’s spring when the treefrogs say it is. Question it not.