Friday, April 16, 2010

It's been unseasonably warm and dry this April. My early garden sowing is up and growing enthusiastically, and so are the weeds. Yesterday the wind was quite strong, but today it's less so and occasionally a large, fluffy cloud blocks the sun. The thermometer has been flirting with 80 degrees all week.

Something caught my eye while I was working at the computer this afternoon. I looked up in time to see a female pileated woodpecker on the trunk of the tulip tree just outside the window. Her crest was an incredibly brilliant crimson in the early afternoon sun. She was clinging to the side of the tree, and she slowly turned her head all the way around backwards, looked directly at me, and then flew away. I thought I'd heard pileated woodpeckers in the last few days. I hope she has a successful nest this year.

Seeing the woodpecker motivated me to call Sadie and Seamus and head down the hill for a walk along the Salt Fork.Things are changing daily! The bluebells and spring beauties are still rampant in the woods, but the toothwort is gone and the blue phlox is ever more apparent.
 I noticed a tree in flower that I didn't immediately recognize. Beautiful maroon flowers, very similar in conformation to those of a tulip poplar, although hanging pendent from the branches rather than upright. The bark was very smooth, the growth habit spreading, and the trees seemed to be in a colony. It suddenly dawned on me that this is where the paw paws grow! I tasted their sweet, custardy fruit for the first time last year. These blossoms will, with the help of pollinators, beget the fall's fruit!

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