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Hummingbirds return to the north woods

Every year on May 10th we say “Time to put the hummingbird feeder up!”  Most years we wonder if it will freeze when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, and try to remember to bring it in during those chilly nights.  But we put it back outside during the day, to swing in the breeze outside our front window, waiting for the tiny flash of red and green which tells us the hummingbirds have returned from their southern vacation.

The flashy males return first.  The less flamboyant females appear about a week later.  Then begins the strange mating dance which is prefaced by the males dive-bombing and chasing one other.  You don’t want to get caught in their antics.  Sometimes, if you’re sitting on the front porch, minding your own business, they’ll swoop and buzz within inches of your head.  It’s a little disconcerting.

You’ll be happy to know we put the feeder up on Sunday and spotted the first hummingbird Wednesday morning.  They’re still skittish and quickly zip away if you move toward the window in hopes to get a vibrant picture.  The above photo looks rather like a silhouette, but if you peer closely enough you can almost see the rapidly vibrating wings.

Wild Leeks:  The Sequel

Wild Leeks: The Sequel

Right after work I trekked through the cedar swamp again to reach the wild leeks.  We were hankering for some more soup.  Potato Leek Soup, this time.  I got lost again, eventually discovering the lush growing grounds.  Picked a bunch.  This time they smelled really pungent.  I mean really pungent.

My unofficial theory is that the longer the leeks grow, the more odoriferous they become.  Our kitchen smelled so strongly for several hours after cleaning ’em that my husband said, “OK, no more leeks this year!” 

Fortunately, the flavor of the leeks in the potato soup was very mild.  Just right.  Very delicious.

Fiddlehead ferns unfurling

Fiddlehead ferns unfurling

It’s really challenging to walk in a cedar swamp.  You have to walk carefully to avoid falling in.  There’s trees at odd angles and you can never walk in a straight line.  You have to jag to the left to avoid a rotting stump, then jag to the right to miss a soaked boot. 

This amazing spiderweb shimmered out of an old stump.  So happy the camera caught its lattice-like weaving.

Spider web

Spider web

Before and after our wild leek potato soup we started to plant the garden.  It’s finally time.  The cold-weather crops need to be planted, especially the onions, lettuce, spinach, and peas.  Barry rototilled the garden yesterday, working up the soil.  We raked, planted and set up the pea fence today.  The lovely pole pea vines (which grow five to six feet high) will climb up the fence, eventually supporting the pods which we’ll munch and shell sometime in July. 

Gardening season hath begun!

Two rows of lettuce & spinach planted

Two rows of lettuce & spinach planted