Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Birds and flowers and a taste of spring

There's a considerable risk that you've become weary of looking at sentimental spring pictures on this blog. But there's so much to show and such abundance of perfect weather, carelessly scattered flora and tender new beginnings that I feel utterly helpless to resist the urge to post. It might be the same at your house; I do dearly hope it is. Here are the catbirds, or rather, here's one of the catbirds. They tend to be kind of bossy and since they're bigger than the finches they pretty much control the bird feeders when they arrive. Here, also, is one of the robins I've mentioned lingering past their typical annual flight time. According to the local newspaper (fondly called "The Mullet Wrapper"), it's been such a chilly spring that the Carolinas are too cold to call the robins home. Perhaps that's also why the catbirds are arriving later, and in smaller numbers, than usual. I know the photo's blurry, but I couldn't resist. If you look closely, you can see he's fluttering his wings, almost as though he's doing a spring dance.

Blooming, also somewhat later than usual, are the tiny wild violets I love, and of which Ms. Moon's grandson is such a connoisseur. Ms. Moon has some white ones; I have previously confessed my jealousy. Mine are all this delicate shade of purple. In warmer springs they bloom in the first week of March and are just about gone by now. And finally, you can see the Carolina jessamine, another of nature's town criers announcing the arrival of spring. This stuff curls itself around every kind of tree and bush close enough to the warm spring sun to give it hope. So small are its flowers that from a distance you sometimes just see a palm tree with a strangely yellow crown on its head, or a clump of scrub oaks and palmettos sporting an inexplicable cloud of yellow. When you get close enough, you can see these lovely little flowers. Because of the live oaks and water oaks around our house you often see the jessamine flowers climbing and trailing 50 or 75 feet over your head. Falling, they create spots under the trees that are starred with blossoms, pretty enough to lead a bride up the aisle. This last is something I've been trying to photograph this week, and as soon as I get the right image I'll share it with you.

I hope you have all the fixings for a fine big salad for your supper tonight, and some excellent homemade dressing for it. If you have some sliced almonds or chopped walnuts or pecans, toast them in a skillet or in the oven and toss them on top. Even if it's still too cold to eat supper outside, enjoy the fresh flavors and know that spring is closer than you think. It always is.

Eat Here photo credits: all images thanks to Rodney Christensen

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