Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mild, mild March

Today marks the first day I enjoy my yard work in 2010. It seems all my preparation in the fall of 2009 paid off: barely two bags of yard waste, and a delicious pile of compost just waiting to be spread. It actually worked! I'm truly surprised, since the last time I saw the inside of the compost heap it still had most of an undegraded lemon in it, among other things. Oddly enough, the grass clippings I dumped in mid-October are still uncomposted. Oh, well. Soon enough!

I found less cat poop than I expected. Last year there was a cat who would crap in my vegetable garden at least once a week. (The vegetables stopped growing.)

A pile of firewood is ready, and now the yard is pretty much set for a wonderful Easter Egg hunt this Sunday. We're supposed to have gorgeous above-seasonal temperatures this weekend (even today did not feel like the advertised 15°C - I was sleeveless all afternoon), which is perfect.

What did I get rid of? I bit the bullet and cut down some raspberry canes that were in the way of other plants. Some. I never remember which ones are the new canes and which are the older ones. Most of the canes fruit for two years.

I mostly got rid of dead leaves on the hostas and lilies and irises. Later, when it's a bit warmer, I'll be digging up the pampas grass. It's overwhelming the plants by the southern fence, and so bye-bye it will go.

I cut down another big branch on Anna Willow that was leaning over the fence into the neighbor's yard. Beth Willow will require some serious pruning later on too. And the Forsythia had a few long branches removed, but not nearly enough.

So what's growing so far? Tulips, irises, sedum, hyacinth, miniature daffodils, daylilies (they're behind the canoe stand, though, and they never seem to make it to blooming, but we'll see). I spotted buds on some of the raspberry canes, and some of the mystery trees I uncovered last fall. It'll be fun to finally find out what they are!

I wasn't the only one to enjoy the sunshine though. Ash the Cat submitted to being harnessed and put on a leash. He nearly escaped when I wouldn't move from the composter and he freaked out, thrashing like a rabid animal. I put the body harness back on (the collar was still around his neck) and tried an experiment. I unhooked him from the leash, covered the only bolt-hole I could find, and let him explore on his own. Then I heard Juno the Cat meowing at the patio door. Normally she doesn't like Outside, but she seemed curious, so I opened the screen door and let her out. Of the two, she is microchipped, so I'd worry less about her than Ash. (Don't worry, he's getting chipped soon.)

When Ash is outside, he becomes totally wild. He doesn't hear his name, totally ignores me, and doesn't make a sound. He tends to stick to the edges of the yard, rarely walking straight across it. He also tries to eat all the long grass he can find. Ash hates being brought back inside (he actually hissed at me today - a first), but once back in the house he is quick to have the harness removed.

This was Juno's first time Outside, and she behaved rather differently from Ash. She meows in acknowledgement of her name being called, but doesn't come back like she usually does. She tended to wander all over, not really smelling much, just trotting around.

There was a pretty hilarious moment when the two of them spotted each other from opposite sides of the yard, and approached each other so slowly, their tails puffing up and their bodies slinking low to the ground, until they got a good sniff and the puffiness abated. Then the garbage truck came by and Juno took off back to the patio.

I think their outing was good for them. I know cats sleep a lot, but they've been passed out for about an hour each. I could use a nap myself. It's probably more sun than I get in a week!