Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring is in full swing!

The air at The Lakehouse is alive with birdsong. All the trees and shrubs are bursting with buds, and some of the azalea buds are showing their color. Forsythias are going "past", but the cherry is in full bloom. One Red Bud in back of the house is in full bloom, but the one at the front is just starting to bloom. We wonder if that's because the thirty foot Camilia trees protect it from wind off the lake in that direction, which is more southeast

Our pear tree is just lovely with blooms. We have never once gotten a ripe pear off it. When they ripen, we are usually not here, and when we are the tree is empty. The mystery remains: who eats them all? The tree is at least twenty feet tall. We have been here when there were actual pears all over the tree one day, and the next time we looked, it was completely empty. Another Lakehouse mystery.

A Japanese Magnolia is blooming on the adjacent, abandoned property. This little tree's blooms are new this year. Very exciting.

Larry has noticed the increase in predator birds around us in the last week or more. We have seen lots of Red-Tail and other Hawks, plus at least one pair of Osprey. The Cardinal males are breaking up their winter clutch; splitting off and forming territories now. The air is alive with birdsong. This hawk remains perched high in the pine tree chirping for love, "Hee-err, hee-err, hee-err".

One pair of Mallards arrived this week. We wondered if they could be offspring from last year, but remembered that the males are basic "hoes" and don't remain with the females after mating. I made sure some birdseed was on the ground under the feeder to see if I could once again lure them ashore. We've also seen flocks of Hooded Mergansers in the cove. Geese are everywhere!

The beavers snuck back and "tagged" two trees with small chewed areas on the bark. We discovered that they do indeed eat pine trees; not just hardwoods. So, Larry got out the hardware cloth and covered five hardwood trees in the tagged area. We don't care much about the pines. The Pine Beetle are slowly eating and killing them anyway. We'd rather retain the longer-lasting hardwoods as much as possible and let nature thin the pine woods

Actually, Larry recently cut down a dead pine on the shore he's been watching for a few years. We discovered it was full of carpenter ants. The Mocking Birds are very happy for this unexpected feast. The Woodpeckers discovered them long ago given the lack of bark on the tree before cutting it down. Those rascally beavers are still phantoms.

But, we did see one Muscrat swim out from under the dock one late afternoon as we sat on the glider enjoying the waning light. It stayed close by enough to watch him/her swim and dive with its ratty tail curled above the water's surface. We remembered that when the lake was down years ago, the clay and rock beach was littered with Muscrat tunnels. So many tunnels that when I walked the beach, I fell into one up to my knee. Luckily, I had on my Teva strap-on sandals to protect my feet. The beach is so rocky, I have to wear them all the time, even when swimming.

The lake level is rising now as quickly as it dropped a few months ago. The water is now just below the deck of the dock. The other night we had a party, and two eleven-year-old girls opened swim season by jumping in the lake off the dock. Their red skin and shocked faces were enough evidence to attest to the water's temperature. In Boston, they would have been called, "L-Street Brownies".

We'll be heading north again in a couple of weeks. I have mixed feelings as this time approaches. We're not sure how soon we'll return to The Lakehouse, and not only will we miss it here, but the puppies will too. This is their favorite home. They have lots of freedom and adventure abounds here for them. They make us laugh all the time, especially Jackson with his boundless antics. He is the adventure boy, but Mattie Grace loves to follow along

Recently, big dawgs have invaded our yard. Saturday night, it was very difficult to get them to go home. They were friendly enough, but we didn't want our little pups to get "into it" with these eighty-to-one-hundred-pound specimens. Both our ten-pounders have picked up on their scent, and have learned to follow it down the long driveway and out to the road. Lucky for us, they have been turning left and headed to the cove; not the open road a half-mile up

Our last Bichon, Sammy, took a "walk about" this way and got lost on the paved road. It was very scary for us all. He was lost for over an hour, and I had to get in the car to find him. When I did, he was scared senseless (he didn't seem to recognize me); was covered in "sticky burrs", and soaking wet from the soggy ditch by the roadside. This little adventure prompted me to write a childrens' book I have yet to finish. We fear our newest little Bichon, Jackson, will one day attempt the same fate. Now we see that Bichon males are extremely curious and seek adventure.

I have been pruning massive Wisteria vines and briars out of all the trees and shrubs. The Wisteria vines in the Camilia trees are so mature that each braid of the tree stalks are now at least three inches wide: very difficult to lop. But, they must be killed because they are choking out our beautiful Camilias that bloom all year long

I am almost done with this process, and Larry started raking pinestraw (needles) at the point; working his way back towards the house. He just came in and declared he accomplished his goal of raking to "the island". This island is a garden area with a lovely Dogwood tree as it's focal point, surrounded by Azaleas. Larry recently cut down lots of other trees like pine and holly that seeded themselves to clutter this lovely arrangement. We figured that if we work a couple of hours a day, we should be done by the time we leave. Once done I can feel good about how we are leaving the property for others to enjoy, and track the growth of those nuisances to begin anew when we return. We consider this work "free gym", and enjoy being out in nature with the wind in our hair, the sun on our necks, and birdsong in our ears and hearts.

We love our Lakehouse Haven.