Spring usually sneaks up gradually on the people and animals at Bywater Farm. But this year it arrived suddenly. Almost overnight we went from bone-chilling temperatures to the balmy 60s - from gray, rainy gloom to glorious sunshine - from a barren landscape to big beautiful clumps of green clover and tiny green blades shooting up amid the brown grass.
A few weeks ago the Parish decided to tidy up the ditch that runs along the eastern boundary of Bywater Farm. This tidying up fit doesn't strike them often. We've been here forty years and this is the first time it has struck them. They mercifully brought all their heavy equipment on to our neighbor's vacant lot, leaving our little triangle pasture and fences unmolested. Since time out of mind trees have been growing on both sides of the ditch - mostly hackberry trees and pecan trees. Although the pecans have always been too crowded to reach their full potential, they've produced many a tasty nut over the years so I'm glad they survived the tidying up. In fact, most of our trees survived while the Parish removed just about all the trees on the neighbor's side of the ditch. I hope that was OK with the neighbor, but - OK or not - his trees are gone and our view has been expanded.
The barn pasture is a pitiful sight - more a dirt lot than a pasture. We had several hard freezes this winter, and they took a toll on the grass. We're feeding the horses lots of hay so nobody's ribs are showing, but I know they would like some green grass. The triangle pasture is just beginning to turn green. In another week or two we'll put the horses there and get busy rehabilitating the barn pasture. We'll toss some grass seed out there and hope at least some of it produces grass. One thing is for sure - as soon as the seed is out, word will travel through the bird community that there is a veritable smorgasbord in the Bywater barn pasture.
Walking the horses across the back yard from the barn pasture to the triange pasture used to be a rowdy affair. Rocky and Fay were just three years old when they came to live here. They're eight now and have done a lot of settling down. Tesoro, who is almost twelve, is still the boss hoss. I used to think that when Rocky grew up he might put the old boy in his place, but that hasn't happened. Tesoro still herds the two eight-year-olds around when he feels like it, and they get to eat hay when the boss says it's OK. Since he's a benevolent tyrant, he does eventually say OK.
I'm surprised that so many of the herbs out on the deck survived the freezes. The parsley is green and growing. So are the chives, catnip, lemon balm, and mint. I'm afraid the sage and oregano are done for. All the Blue Daze, my favorite summer flowering plant, is dead as a door nail. It can survive a light freeze, but temperatures in the teens proved to be more than it can take.
It's warm enough to have some windows open today, and Teche - the resident house cat - is enjoying the fresh air. Yes, I think spring is here to stay.