April 22– late frost

I had early work this morning, and when I woke up, it was cold!  Frosty cold!  Hard to believe that it’s late April and just a couple weeks ago we were sweating our way through a bunch of 90-degree days.

Look at that frosty grass!Image

Look at that frosty nettle!Image

As I walked down to the pond, I saw this incongruous sight in the Morningstar back yard: the dogwood is in bloom, as is the red azalea.  The peach trees have lost their flowers and fully leafed out.  And some soul in the house has lit a fire because it was below freezing this morning. Image

So what was I doing at the pond?  I met up with a crew of visitors, got rakes for everyone, and raked the edge of the pond, which had become all encrusted with grass, dead plants, algae, and muck.  In Virginia, a pond is an inherently unstable ecosystem.  The course of nature is to turn a swimming pond into a muck pond, then into a swamp, then into a meadow, then into a forest.  So I’ve got to put a certain amount of effort every year into thwarting nature.  I was planning on taking an “after” photo of the spot below once I had raked it, but got distracted. Image

While raking muck out of the pond, we discovered (and disturbed) lots of pondy wildlife; several frogs and newts and this little snake fellow.  At first I thought it might be a baby copperhead, but one of the visitors pointed out that the shape of the head was wrong to be a copperhead.  I wasn’t so sure, but either way we flicked it back into the water and it swam away.Image

Aah, my beautiful little pond, all raked out and shimmering in the springtime sun!Image

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