The light of the sun has slowly returned as we celebrate Candlemas. It's the cross-quarter day between winter and spring and we're ready for warmer days and the spring thaw!
We've had an amazing winter in the high desert this season. It has been one of those special years where we've received a fresh blanket of snow. So much snow in fact, that we've actually been skiing out the front door which has been a treat for both of us! It stayed cold through January so the snow has taken weeks to melt. It still looks white in the surrounding hills but we're finally seeing bare ground in the garden again.
Steve and I feed birds through the year and it's been a job keeping their water thawed and their feeders full this winter. We know they appreciate it, though, so we're happy to help. We also keep the hummingbird feeders full and it's been a challenge to keep the feeders free of snow so they can drink during snowstorms,which they do. We know the hummers-and the warblers too-need the nourishment to keep warm through the storm cycles. Even though the feeders are insulated (with bubble wrap which works well most of the time), the nights have still been too cold so we've had to bring them inside at night and then back out in the morning. No sooner are they hung than a bird or two are on the feeders ready for a morning meal! As the days continue to warm, the bird activity in the garden has increased. It's starting to get noisy out there as they feel the first "call" of spring! Nest building will begin soon.
In the garden our lettuce, garlic and onions have remained cozy and relatively warm in their hoop houses, even on the coldest nights. The snow acts as an insulator but too much snow can break the hoops so we've had to keep them clear. The lettuce is sweet and tender and we're enjoying our fresh winter produce. However it's growth is slow in the cold months so we can't harvest very much at a time. We don't mind, though, as they'll be plenty to pick in the spring! The trees and garden plants have enjoyed a deep rest this season because of the snow. And now they're being watered as the snow melts and slowly percolates into the ground; Nature's perfect drip system!
As the late winter sun tracks northward, the garden will awaken;renewed and refreshed after a good winter. The first to bloom will be the crocus bulbs. Then the fruit tree blossoms will swell and pop open. And with the warming days, the bees will leave the hive in search of wild forage, delighting in the first blossoms of spring!
Steve and I lit a candle in honor of Candlemas. In the midst of all the seeming darkness we can always be the love and light in our own hearts. The lit candle reminds us that even in the darkest winter, the light will return. It always does and we can count on that...
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