The Old Crabapple Tree

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson, (1850-1894) Scottish writer

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There is an old crabapple tree in our yard.  I suspect it is at least 40 years old.  Each year we contemplate taking it down to avoid our yearly battle with apple scab.  And yet, every spring when this tree blossoms and plays host to its variety of birds we decide to keep it around for another year.  I simply refuse to remove a tree that continues to make me smile!

Natural Recycling

“Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound.  By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty.  There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different time, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death.  And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.”

~Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher; author of the book, Walden

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Fungi: Mother Nature’s recycling system

A Rhododendron for Minnesota

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction.  It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”

~Jean Giradoux (1882-1944) French playwright, novelist, and diplomat

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The selection of perennial plants for a Minnesota garden can prove a challenge. Gardeners must always keep in mind that plants will have to survive the cold of our winters. Every spring when my P.J.M. Rhododendron blooms again my heart does a little dance. It is a welcome reminder of the warmer and more colorful days ahead.

Listen

“The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, no objects to be exploited.  Everything has its own voice.  Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees — all these have voices and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.”

~ Thomas Berry (1914-2009), Catholic priest of the Passionist order

(Quote via ourhabitatgarden.org)

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The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker that often excavates nest holes in dead or diseased trees.  As I strolled my property I heard, and then discovered, one hammering on a dead tree.  I hoped that a nest was being built!  It turned out that this handsome bird was not in the market for a home, but I did get a chance to take a few photographs.

Spring

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

~ Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher; author of the book, Walden

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The Hepatica wildflowers have poked their way up through the remains of last fall.  Spring has truly arrived in northern Minnesota.

What’s in a Smell?

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a midwestern town.  Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.  Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.  A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.”

~Diane Ackerman (1948- ), A Natural History of the Senses

(Quote via quoteland.com)

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A lovely cow sniffing the fresh blooms of spring.

Great Horned Owl Napping

“When you’re making a film, you have an obligation to fill the frame with life.”

~Joss Whedon (1964- )American screenwriter, film and television director, film and television producer, comic book author, and composer (Wikipedia)

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Taking a picture of an owl can be a tricky endeavor!  It took me quite awhile to find a spot in which I could actually see most of this sleeping beauty.

Rough-legged Hawk

“Behold my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”

~ Sitting Bull (1831-1890) Chief of the Lakota Sioux Nation

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Rough-legged Hawk taking a look at me and my camera.

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The Rough-legged Hawk breeds in the arctic during the summer months, but winters in the U.S. and southern Canada.  I feel fortunate whenever I see one in the spring as it migrates north back through Minnesota.

This handsome bird had a partner off in the distance.  I’m hoping their nesting season is a successful one!

Contented Eagle

“We’re so busy watching out what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”

~ Bill Watterson, (1958- ) American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes

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This bald eagle was sitting on a bundle of hay when I arrived and he was still there when I departed.

Almost time for planting…

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”

~  Edward Giobbi  (1926- ) American artist and cookbook author

(quote via egreenway.com)

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Farming equipment awaiting the return of warmer weather.

Fox in the Garden

“It’s not just in the air.  Spring is in the light.  There’s a different light in March and April. It’s in the grass, leaves and flowers.   It’s in the birdsong and the baaa of baby lambs.  Mostly though, spring blooms in my heart.”

~ Toni Sorenson, Author

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A young fox made an unexpected visit to my garden one lovely spring morning.

Predatory Songbird

“I never dreamed about success.  I worked for it.”

~Estee Lauder (1908-2004) American businesswoman and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

(Quote via Goodreads.com)

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The Northern Shrike summers in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska.  It only appears in Minnesota when it returns to the lower 48 during winter.  The size of a medium songbird, this carnivorous creature feeds on rodents, small birds, and large insects. (Source: allaboutbirds.org)

Hooded Merganser Moves

“For fast-acting relief try slowing down.”

~ Lily Tomlin (1939- ) American comedic actress

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The Hooded Merganser is the smallest of the three merganser species common to North America.  In my opinion, this species moves quickly!  They are quite adept at avoiding me and my camera.  I was pleased to catch a shot of this male near the shoreline.