Lots happening with spring in the midwest. All the crab apple trees are blooming, one is white with pale pink centers and one is a dark pink. The apply tree has blossoms on it. The tulips were spectacular. The fish have laid eggs and for the first time I've actually seen the eggs. Night temperatures are still in the 30s so the toads haven't bred yet. Seeds have been planted and are in the greenhouse with the tropical pond plants that were moved outside last week. We have been running two small heaters at night which keeps the temperature about 60. Yesterday's shopping trip for plants yielded a new Viburnum, a baby butterfly bush, several new pond plants, a fancy Datura, a pot of Virginia bluebells and another really pretty shade plant for the woods. I've already purchased my Sweet 100 and Celebrity tomato plants; they are residing in the greenhouse awaiting good weather. No sign of the hummingbirds or orioles although the feeders have been out for over a week. The chipping sparrows are here along with the grackles. I watched a white-crowned sparrow bathe in the pond yesterday. He was in and out of the pond ten times before he considered himself clean enough. The first water lilies have broken the surface and I've treated the pond twice with algaecide because of the string algae.
We've not seen the bluebirds but we did find a potential aid to keeping the house sparrows out of the house. My husband saw a design that involved string fish line around the entrance hole. One bluebird house actually had the start of a house sparrow nest inside which we cleaned out and after the fish line was installed, the house sparrows did not return. The nest box in the back yard had some wren sticks in it. We found last year that a wren guard works really well, but you can't put it up until the bluebirds lay their first egg. Still waiting for the bluebirds to come back.
We had a local carpenter build a pergola over our deck. We had a canopy on a frame that was put up every spring and taken down in the fall. In the course of handling, several rips appeared and it wasn't very attractive. The pergola isn't waterproof but it's lovely and provides wonderful shade. The carpenter did a fabulous job, we're very pleased and will be eating our first family dinner on the deck tomorrow.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it but there is a new house going up right across the street from our driveway. Piles of dirt, heavy equipment, lots of noise. Luckily, the only view of the mess is from our living room bay window and that's the room we spend the least amount of time in. The view from our deck is blocked by both the greenhouse and a 30' blue spruce. All day long it's beep beep beep from large trucks backing up and pound pound pound from the hammers and nail guns. Since work just started last week, we have a long time to go. And to add to this, our new neighbors are bikers with 3 big dogs that only bark once in a while and loads of friends that will be coming for parties. We know this because they told us. The turkeys, deer and coyotes that used to cross that field must be really confused now.
If you like birds, and you crochet, don't throw away your yarn scraps. Cut them in 4" portions and drop them on your grass. Watch the robins scoop them up and use them for their nests. You can see them carry the bits to where they are building. If you have cats that need to be brushed, save the fur, put it out on the lawn in late April, early May, birds love fur because it's soft and dries quickly.