Monday, March 1, 2010

March Comes In Like A . . .

Well, it's not really a lion this year. The snow has momentarily given way to rain: drippy days, freezing nights, icy mornings. But I'm sure the snow isn't done with us yet either. After all, this is northern Nevada: just wait a few minutes, and things will change.

Yesterday, outside one kitchen window, a quail stands watch on the deck railing as his covey sneaks through the fence, heading for the spilled seeds under the bird feeder.

Out in the garden, I hope the doubled-up wire fencing will be enough to protect newly emerging seedlings of my fall-seeded spinach and arugula from hungry little beaks. One plan this year is to reconfigure my garden layout this Spring to make the garden beds easier to cover. The city is sprawling our direction. As developers bulldoze the sagebrush, the birds and animals are on the move - looking for new homes and food. Our lot must look like a green oasis, flashing signs saying, "Good Eats Here". I try to make sure they get only their share.

A bright spot in the gloomy weather are the yellow crocus outside my living room window. Closed up tight when it rains or snows on them, as soon as a ray of sun breaks through the clouds they open right up. This wire cover is chicken-proofing. Three of the hens got into this garden and had a field day. Once the girls find something of interest, they get downright obsessive about it. Merely running out there every half hour, flapping my apron or waving a broom isn't gonna keep them away. Time to go find more wire. So, now, they're lined up outside the little picket fence, cocking their heads from side to side, beady little eyes checking out all the wire. This garden is safe for the moment.

March is certainly no lamb this year either. Rain here is snow just a few hundred feet higher up the hill, and snow is still in our forecast this week. This morning, looking out the other kitchen window, a couple of white moving patches caught my eye (hard to see, center of above photo). I recognise what it is immediately, but it surprises me.

It's the rump patches of five mule deer. I'd seen fresh tracks walking with the dog up the canyon, but we rarely see deer down this low. Two things cross my mind: one, I hope they're not hungry enough to jump our fence - maybe the dog will deter them; two, if you see deer, there may be cougars. You probably won't see them, but they are around. For my walks up the canyon, I think I'll be using my sharp-tipped hiking poles for a while now. March came in like alert? alarm? Just no lions, ok?


Nancy M. said...

Wow, it's so hard to see them in the first picture! They really blend in!

Simple in France said...

You'll have to let us know how your wire netting holds up. I'm mulling over planting some seedlings on some remote land my in-laws have, but am worried about munching critters too. . .Sometimes they even get grazing donkeys--sheesh.