March 1, 2015

Sunset in the willow swamp on March 1, 2015.
Sunset in the willow swamp on March 1, 2015.

 

February is over at last and maybe the cold weather with it except for two days next week when the lows will be around minus 15 but this is Minnesota.

Last month saw 18 days with lows below zero. The lowest temperature was minus 30 on February 19. But we had some oddly warm days, too. On February 9 the high was 37. The next day it snowed about 3 inches of wet slush with some freezing mist. For the rest of the month we got no snow except for occasional flurries.

There was very little animal activity in February. The most commonly seen or heard birds were blue-jays, crows, chickadees, nuthatches ruffed grouse, and pine siskins. Pileated woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers passed through a few times and I heard an owl one night. Deer were seen from time to time as were cottontail rabbits, meadow voles, and red squirrels. In the woods and in the marsh I saw tracks of deer, porcupine, snowshoe hares, fox, and wolf. Today on the river I saw where beavers had been crawling out of the water through holes in the ice. They may have been out the last week of February but I hadn’t been walking on the ice for a week. At one of the holes I could hear them fussing about my walking by them. A weird sound like a combination of quacking and grunting.

The river just before sunset and still in the grips of winter on March 1, 2015.
The river today just before sunset and still in the grips of winter.

Now that March has begun it is time to start cleaning of the starting bench, checking grow lights and heating mats, and getting flats and pots ready for planting seeds of peppers and tomatoes. Hot pepper seeds will be planted first as they seem to take a long time to¬†germinate. A week or so later it will be time for tomatoes. My other seeds for cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower will be planted in mid-April. I have new plant varieties and species to try this year such as gobo, quinoa, and root chicory. And I’m hoping for an abundant harvest of rhubarb from the new patch.

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