All of the sudden spring equinox is upon us, and with it the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. Today on the 20th of March is when the day and night are equal in length in most parts of the world, and then the sun crosses the equator line and the northern hemisphere begins to be tilted towards it. The days have grown longer for a good three months now since winter solstice, but now many places in the northern hemisphere begin to have longer daylight hours than hours of darkness. I can feel the light in the early morning even before I wake up, and I love it! Never mind that we still have a thick layer of snow on the ground and that the temperature stays on the freezing side. Time invariably flows and soon enough the snow will melt. Like my mother used to say: "this too shall pass".
Passing time doesn't only mean we have things to look forwards to. It also means we sometimes need to say goodbye too. And so it is with one of my favourite old Maple trees in the garden at Stensund. I have been following its wellbeing for a good many years now, as it has succumbed to fungus and old age. Sadly it is a bit too near the house to be comfortably left to fall down at its own leisure, and so after a particularly violent winter storm when it creaked and moaned enough to keep us up at night I decided it was time to take it down before it crashes into the kitchen. The tree surgeon was called, and on a sunny day last week he turned up to do his work. I always marvel at people with jobs like that, as I nearly fainted just by looking at him swing high up in the tree with the chainsaw at full speed and no care in the world. Gingerly he cut it down to a few meters above ground, leaving as much as could be considered safe for curious climbing children visiting the garden. Later on we will make a tree sculpture of it to pay respect to the beautiful miracle that nature is, in all its phases from birth through to decay and death.
In the sunniest side of the garden I am suddenly delighted to find the first few snowdrops poking their heads up. A bit shy they still keep their nodding heads in tight buds, but just you wait and see! They sit ever so sweetly in my woodland garden, and I always rejoice at how early this part of the garden starts to come back to life in the spring. "I must plant more shrubs in here," I think for the umpteenth time, but it is a hopeless project. Never mind how many shrubs I've planted as our resident Peter Rabbit always gets the better of me in the grand scheme of things, and what he does't get the the voles most definitely will as they feast on the roots all throughout winter. Mind you, Luna the cat has been exemplary this year and caught quite a few critters as she is most keen to impress the youngsters in the red house. To them she brings dead mice and voles, but to me she brings them inside while they are still alive. I wonder what she is trying to say here...?
Meanwhile back at the ranch my darling chicken are also feeling the spring in their souls, and suddenly some of the grey ones have started to lay eggs! Such sweet little first eggs they are too, as the chicken are only still young and it will take until summer for them to produce normal sized eggs. I never knew this before having my own chicks hatch, that egg size depends on not only the breed of the chicken but also her age. Neither - apparently - did my ladies who all seem quite surprised at their accomplishments!