Signs of spring

Pussy willows in bloom in the neighborhood.

Dear hopeful reader,

The past two weeks have been sunny and warm, at least by our standards — in the mid-50s during the heat of the day. The snow has nearly disappeared. The pussy willows are blooming. The rhubarb is poking its way out of the wet ground. And the wild swans have returned to Fish Lake.

It seems spring truly has arrived in Alaska.

Our spring chickens.

My youngest daughter and I have planted our garden starts — squash and kale, broccoli and sweet peas — and now our living room windows are full of tiny, tender, green plants.

Squash and kale seedlings in our front window.

In another sign of spring, our friend and neighbor Donna gave us baby chicks. Chickens produce the most eggs during the first year or two, so each spring we add some new hens to the flock to keep up our egg production. Although, as you can see from our refrigerator, we are not suffering from a shortage of eggs. Luckily we have friends and relatives to share them with.

In another week or two the cottonwood and birch leaves will fully emerge, and in about a month we can plant our garden.

Of course yesterday afternoon as I was driving home, the sky began to spit snow at my windshield. But none of it stuck to the ground, so I’m just going to pretend that didn’t happen.

Are the seasons changing for you as well?



We are getting about 6 eggs a day from our flock, now that the days have grown longer and warmer.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vivian Faith Prescott
    May 04, 2012 @ 09:48:37

    Glad you are enjoying Spring! Yep, the season’s changing here in Kodiak. I’m heading back home to Sitka to be closer to family. I can’t wait to see the skunk cabbage!

  2. Sue Mathis
    May 04, 2012 @ 10:15:41

    The snow at our place is finally all gone, but the mess the winter left is incredible! I think every broken tree limb and branch in Palmer has landed on my front lawn! I have beautiful purple flowers blooming in the garden and the tulips are growing as well. Now just to find the time to get out there and clean up the major winter mess!

  3. sardav64
    May 04, 2012 @ 10:19:41

    Lovely photographs
    After a beautiful march
    The weather in the uk has turned really cold
    Hope you have a good weekend

  4. Julia Whelihan
    May 04, 2012 @ 10:35:17

    I wanted to share with you that at our book club (Novel Neighbors) we all met to discuss your beautifully written book, “The Snow Child”. It seemed that that we were inspired to bring foods from your region (we are in SW Colorado). One gal brought moose w/plum sauce and we even has salmon flavored liquor. The moose meat was great (I wasn’t too excited about the taste of the alcohol!) Spring is definitely here. I work at the public library and it is very close to the elementary school. I can hear the rambunctious voices of the children as they play on the school playground through my open window and take whiffs of the fragrant blossoms! Simple purity to my senses!

  5. Barbra Jenkins
    May 04, 2012 @ 12:25:04

    I work at our local library (Indiana) and mentioned your book at our book discussion group meeting. We are definitely going to do this one next year!
    My family took an Alaskan cruise last May. I realize that these cruises do not really touch on the real Alaska, but we went to see the wildlife–the whales, the seals, the eagles….very memorable. I would like to go back someday. It was wonderful.

    I also listened to your interview with the public radio station in Tulsa. (I am a fan on your Facebook page). I enjoyed listening to some of your life in Alaska.

  6. Mrs Penfold
    May 04, 2012 @ 12:41:17

    How divine to have your own chickens and eggs. I would love to do that. It’s Autumn here in Melbourne, Australia, and we have been pushed into what feels like early winter. The rain has returned this year after so many years of drought. Still feels a little strange to get a thunderstorm with rain. Have come out of maybe ten years of very few thunderstorms storms and if they did occur there was all sound and flashing but no rain. Now since December things have turned around and the rain has come back. It’s brilliant to get a full on thunderstorm with rain pelting down, flashes of lightning and rollicking thunder. The way it should be. xf

  7. mrchickaloonbaer
    May 05, 2012 @ 06:15:40

    An earth shattering event occurred! Eowyn bemoaning a snowfall.

    Spring things I’ve noticed:
    Wild currants uncurling their blooms,
    Teeny white violets blooming,
    Skeeters rising from the leaf mulch,
    Swans migrating, in the late evening they skim the treetops looking for a lake to rest on,
    Two loons flying between Drill Lake and Fish Lake, one is their nestling site, the other for food,

    Happy agave and lime juice day!

  8. Mrs Penfold
    May 07, 2012 @ 18:55:54

    Did you mention guava and lime juice? Did I get that right??? If so then…..YUM. Will try that drink tonight. Might go well with a wee drop of gin!

  9. Mrs Penfold
    May 07, 2012 @ 18:58:34

    Ok, have just looked it up. It’s agave. But it still sounds like it would go with gin!

  10. mrchickaloonbaer
    May 08, 2012 @ 12:35:55

    To set the record straight, the above spring comments are really from Chickaloon Jenny, as some anomaly in the system kept defaulting to my name. For you Aussies out there, she was referring to margaritas, agave being the main ingredient of tequila and just being back from Arizona, tequila was on her mind.

    My sign of spring occurred today as Bella (the lab) and I took a walk down to the swamp pond to hear the first ribbits of the brown tree frogs, an amazing amphibian that has a glucose that acts as an antifreeze allowing it to survive winter in the frozen mud.

    The second sign of Spring is wet dog smell as Bella is overjoyed to be swimming again.

  11. banseabhag
    May 09, 2012 @ 09:18:46

    All you need is some blue eggs in there with the lovely brown ones! Hoping for hens from these chicks and you will have them!

  12. Mrs Penfold
    May 09, 2012 @ 10:35:44

    Thanks for clearing that up. Looks like gin is out of the mix. xf

  13. Naomi Gaede Penner
    May 20, 2012 @ 15:09:02

    Hi Eowyn, It was a pleasure to meet you at Fireside when we were both signing our books — and then run into each other again at Turkey Red Cafe —one of the best restaurants in Alaska. Even though I grew up in Alaska, I didn’t realize the popularity of getting baby chicks! Two days before the Fireside booksigning, I’d been in Galena where at least a dozen chicks had been flown in the day before. I love baby chicks and themed one of my Galena blogs after them:

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