We’ve had a heatwave. Suddenly the temperature got as high as 22C, and it was HOT. Moreover, it has stayed that way. And it often doesn’t freeze at night. We are having an instant spring. I don’t trust it, though. We’ve had hot Aprils and Mays before, and then June is appalling. The snow is rapidly going off the mountains.The river is brown and getting up. But it is nowhere near flood level – the bars have to be covered before there is any concern. It comes from a cold area and doesn’t usually peak until late May, but many areas of BC have had serious flooding – some communities have had to be evacuated. One friend near Tatla Lake has been a prisoner of snowmelt. She lives on a slope and water has not only filled her basement, but it even drowned her solar-power batteries. She can’t go anywhere as she has to monitor her pumps full time. (Oddly enough, the batteries did not seem affected and she still had power.)
With the warm weather, the birds rushed in. First the song sparrow. Is there any prettier sound on a still early spring morning than it’s song?
Next flocks of gold crowned sparrows. Never seen so many. It must be a result of the late start to spring then the unremitting heat wave. They will move higher into the mountains to nest. They are a big sparrow – bigger than the female red crossbill in the foreground. There were so many they kept coming into the house. After I caught and released a dozen, I decided to put up the screens – which I hate.Nimpo Lake is still frozen in this picture below, but the land nearby always floods and the ducks came in their hundreds.Buffleheads.Even a tern.My pond started to go out.The aspen trees turned silver. Never seen so many catkins on them.
I have fetched Hussien for a couple more days’ work. We are continuing to clear and burn. Fortunately, we have had very little wind. Everywhere around the house were old fallen trees. I thought they looked quite pretty and would rot into the ground, but they are a terrible fire hazard, especially on the up slopes windward to the house. Some places were really bad.I cut them up with a chain saw for days. A good many I will process for firewood. Hussien did all the heavy work, carrying logs which were partially or completely rotten.Some could be put into the pickup.All were piled near the fire – we had to keep the fire small – no bigger than 2-metres cubed. This picture shows only a tiny fraction of what was hauled altogether.As a special “treat”, I showed Hussien how to use the chain saw. I’ll get him to help me with firewood later on.And the last time he worked for me, he dug my garden! The green are the kale plants that are coming back. They rarely do this but although the winter was very long, snow fell before it got cold and the frost did not go into the ground. Hussien even found a couple of carrots that were still edible. The following day I planted the cold frames – and I’ve eaten my first salad nibbles out of the greenhouse!. Hard to believe there was still snow lying around a couple of weeks ago.
The soopolallie popped out – those tiny, curious green flowers. These are females: male bushes look a lot fuzzier.As soon as the pussy willows started to turn yellow – along came the humming birds. So far there are not very many.A Eurasian collard dove is hanging around. They were pet birds let loose in California not many years ago and they have swiftly colonized northern areas. They have not nested here yet, but have been recorded breeding close by.The white crowned sparrow arrived. They breed here and their song is a pretty plaintive tune until mid July.And last of all, so late I wondered if it was coming, the purple finch. (His partner is the stripy one below.)A startling bang on the window was the result of this guy’s prey – who got away. I’m pretty sure this is a Cooper’s hawk.And if burning brush, gardening, and teaching ESL were not enough, we are now in the throes of the school play. A version of Jungle Book.)(Guess who painted the backdrop. But you ain’t seen nothing yet!)As a result of all this I have been driving back and forth to Tatla Lake several times a week. The spring is unfolding before my eyes. It is a little warmer towards Tatla. The dandelions are out! (Fire-browned hills behind.)The aspen fruits are amazing.There are no leaves on this tree, just catkins.The pussy willow fruits are so heavy they are weighing down the branches. I’ve never seen anything like it. When they explode into fluff it will be like a snowstorm!A later flowering, golden willow is already blooming.Spring, it would appear, has sprung.