As I drove home from handbell practice last night Venus was bright in the western sky, skimming the tops of the mountains, while behind me a full moon was rising over the Cawston hills, flooding the valley with a silvery light.
A beautiful evening, but not for orchardists who are trying to protect their apricot blossoms from freezing. With the stars, the gorgeous moon and the clear skies comes the very real threat of frost.
The trees are greening, with their leaves at half mast, and the blossoms on the apricot trees are showing colour as they prepare to dress the branches in frothy white. April has the farmer living on the edge, and perhaps thinking what T.S. Eliot expressed so well, - "April is the cruelest month."
When I wandered the house during the night moonlight was still lighting the big bathroom through the skylight, but by morning the clouds had gathered, the temperature was just barely grazing zero and a chilly wind was keeping the air moving. Hopefully all was well, at least at this elevation.
Today was chilly, but pleasant. Tonight still threatens frost in the still, lower reaches of the
I brought the first daffodils into the house this afternoon, along with the prunings from the red maples, which were freshly pruned this morning.
I ran into the house to get the camera, hoping to snap a picture of Husband, five steps up on a 12 foot ladder, pruning shears in hand and a guilty smirk on his face. Have you ever noticed what men will do when your back is turned!!!!
Before I could return with the camera Number Four son had come upon Husband, and he was back down on the ground. I couldn't very well ask him to climb the ladder again in order to take a picture, so it will have to be a mind memory, not a photo shot. The Red Maples were pruned, but Husband had to be content with directing the operation.
Which, of course, we all know he does very well!!!
I am happy to report that the Cutch Battle is being successfully waged, and mop up operations should be all that remain to do in a couple of days. Unfortunately another plant has fallen victim to the ubiquitous grass, but this one was the Common Yarrow, and almost as invasive as the Cutch grass, so it was a case of killing two birds with one stone.
Speaking of birds, and in a more pleasant way, - late in the afternoon I put a small sprinkler on the garden and soon there were a dozen or so eager robins, sparrows, finches and one nuthatch gathered around the water.
Robert Frost cautions about becoming too complacent about April weather, but for now I think we can relax and enjoy the next few days of sunshine and fresh breezes, and hope that the nights will be kind.
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.
- Robert Frost
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
- Robert Frost, A Prayer in Spring