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Tangled Branches: Cultivated

happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia

Monday, February 16, 2004

Weather: has turned much colder; the ground is frozen solid this morning, and so was the birdbath

Birds: just now I looked out the window to see the tail of a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned hawk as it was flying away fron the big black haw viburnum where I have a bird feeder. Didn't see whether its hunt was successful or not, but there are no birds anywhere to be seen back there now

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Friday, February 13, 2004

Signs of Spring: took a walk down by the stream today and saw a couple of water striders by the "fishing hole" - no fish though - and noticed some bright green algae on the rocks in the water

Gardening: pulled out some dead daylily foliage, but it is still too muddy in back to work there

Almost in bloom: snowdrops are not quite out yet - the first one got chewed off (by a squirrel?)

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Weather: sunny; feels warmer but the birdbath was frozen over this morning

Birds: Today is the start of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Got a positive ID on a hairy woodpecker this morning. I suspected that I had seen these before, but wasn't sure until this morning. I see downy woodpeckers every day but today downy and hairy both were present.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Gardening: The weather is so nice today I was just itching to get out and play in the dirt. But the dirt is squishy thick mud, so after a quick tour through the backyard, I cleaned up the planters by the front door. The pansies, violas, and sage are still green and growing. The Carex 'Toffee Twist' might not be dead, but since it is brown anyway, it's a bit hard to tell. There was one green sprout on a Diascia (at least I think it was a Diascia). Also cleaned up the Cupheas and Azaleas that are overwintering in the garage. They all look fine. Had an Angelonia in a pot with Cuphea 'Twinkle Pink', and it (the Angelonia) may still be alive. And there is Lantana (I thought was dead) sprouting in a container in the basement.

Almost in bloom: Snowdrops

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Weather: warmer! The birdbath wasn't frozen over this morning.

Birds: The birds were late showing up to the feeders this morning, and I noticed a lot of bird songs when I went out around 7:15 am.

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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Weather: felt spring-like this morning, but a bit colder and breezy now; we had rain/freezing rain all day yesterday but it warmed up above freezing overnight.
Posted a few pictures of some of yesterday's ice accumulation.

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Friday, February 06, 2004

Weather: we have had quite a lot of freezing rain this morning. It was supposed to have warmed up by now, but it hasn't so far.

Birds: The yellow-bellied sapsucker is back at the suet feeder right now. Saw a Cooper's hawk perching on the fence in back earlier this morning.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Weather: not as cold as it has been. Despite the rain/freezing rain of yesterday, and more predicted for the end of the week, many people consider this to be the beginning of spring. I knew that Japanese tradition starts the seasons six weeks before American tradition, but just learned yesterday that the Celts (and Anglo-Saxons?) also considered this the start of spring. And apparently Groundhog Day has something to do with European traditions. So....

Signs of Spring: The freezing rain predicted by the local weather service was very brief and changed to rain quickly yesterday.
Squirrels are chasing each other- shall we say "playfully"? Yesterday and today I saw them gathering nesting material, although I had seen that much earlier this winter as well.

Birds: Rain and snow always bring the birds to the feeders - not so much before and after as during. Yesterday the yellow-bellied sapsucker was back, and so were the song sparrow and white-throated sparrow. Hadn't seen the sparrows in a few weeks.

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Sunday, February 01, 2004

Weather: cold and sunny - expecting sleet/freezing rain in a day or so

Birds: Had a new bird visit the yard yesterday - a yellow-bellied sapsucker. It was here about 9:30 AM yesterday and stayed quite a while on the suet feeder. It chased the downy woodpeckers away from the suet feeder while it was here, but allowed the chickadees and yellow-rumped warblers access to it. Also saw 3 or 4 house finches (2 males and 1 or 2 females) on the seed feeder yesterday. This is the most I have seen at one time in recent memory.

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