It's been touch-and-go around here this spring, because of the extreme weather weirdness. So as soon as the forty days and forty nights of rain stopped for a while this evening, I went out to check on things.
The frogs, Gaia be thanked, are prospering, though back in March I'd worried about their survival. There was a spell of hot weather during which a couple of them came out of the murky depths and sunbathed on the patio, and soon thereafter a mass of eggs was seen floating on the water. That was succeeded by a week of hard freezes during which frogs and eggs disappeared, never, I feared, to be seen again.
But no. The frogs this year are better than ever, a couple of them as big as pigeons, their offspring clustering sweetly around them. There are so many that even Bisou, whose passion is to bump every single one back into the pond with her nose, has been known to miss a couple.
The second area of concern was the apple trees, which have been blooming their hearts out for the past several weeks. But it's not been good weather for pollinators--too cold on sunny days, and rainy on warm ones. "I saw a honeybee on your apple tree!" my spouse announced the other day, trying to cheer me up. But what's a single honeybee for all those blooms?
Every day, as their petals began to fall, I would go out and peer at the tiny calyxes with close to the same attention that I gave my own flat stomach when I first became pregnant a million years ago. Finally today I saw for sure than some of those calyxes are starting to "show." Thank you, Flora. Stick with us, Pomona.
And then there are the bluebirds in their nest box by the window. For weeks they've been coming and going with, to my eyes, neither rhyme nor reason. First he showed up in a blaze of blue and orange, bearing pieces of hay in his beak and strutting around. Then she came and seemed to be more focused, actually carrying stuff into the nest. But then the flow of building materials stopped, followed by casual visits during which the pair would stick their heads into the nest and then fly off, perhaps never to return. Were they inexperienced? Were they losing interest? Were they scared of the frogs? I didn't dare to look inside then nest box, for fear of putting them off
Today I had lunch with a bluebird-experienced friend who told me that it was o.k. to look in the nest--she had in fact once removed a nestful of parasite-ridden hatchlings, sprayed them with pyrethium, and returned them safely to their parents, who didn't seem to mind. So the minute I got home I stood on a garden chair and peered into the box. There, glowing in the dark, were three glossy eggs, the same bright blue as their papa's wings.
Right now it is almost dark, and the father is perched on the roof of the nest box. I hope he knows what he's doing. I hope somebody's going to keep those eggs warm tonight.