March (or April) in January

I couldn’t resist it – had to quit working and get outside today.  It’s a balmy 62 degrees in January, which takes the old term “January thaw” to new heights.

skunk cabbage

I live across the road from the Flatbrook – one of the best trout-fishing streams in the state, they tell me.  Yes – those are skunk cabbages in the photo – which normally begin pushing up through melting snow in mid- to late-March and early April, depending on the severity of the winter.  Granted, they don’t look quite as robust as they do on their normal schedule, but there they are nevertheless.  And by the way, so are the ticks.  I can’t imagine what they will be like when the real Spring arrives.

I don’t know much about trout fishing, having given up fishing when I was about 11 years old and caught an eel (that’s another story, for another time).  I do know that the Flatbrook is one of the prettiest brooks in the state, any time of year.  I particularly liked the gold and brown tones it was showing today.


Of course, I also love the golds and browns in the fields around here.  This one is across the road from the new Observatory, a stone’s throw from where the original Observatory was located in the 1970s.  The land there now belongs to the Stokes State Forest.  The buildings were razed years ago, and Mother Nature has taken back the land.


The lake is still there, but the beavers have moved across the road to the big lake.


Whenever I visit this lake, a whole five minute walk from the house, I can’t help but remember having to do a second rescue on a herring gull we had rehabilitated back in the late 70s .  Apparently recovered from it’s initial problem of starvation and exhaustion, we released the gull on the lake, and watched as it swam around, obviously enjoying the water.  Then we noticed it seemed to be slowly sinking. Dot and I grabbed a canoe and a large fish net and gave chase.  Turned out the dumb bird had recovered well from the starvation, but had neglected to preen and oil its feathers, and was taking on water like a sponge.  We finally caught the gull and held it another day or two, spritzing it with water to encourage preening.  The second release attempt was highly successful. 


This lichen-covered branch, and the moss-covered bank, were just plain pretty.


A great day, a great walk, and now I can return to the computer refreshed and revitalized.  I’m so thankful that I live in such a beautiful place.  Life is good.


4 Responses to “March (or April) in January”

  1. Laura Says:

    Great gull story – funny that it should forget to do those things.

    The thermometer in my friend’s car said 73 this afternoon.

  2. Mary Says:

    I enjoyed the gull story also. It’s been fun reading your blog and I’m glad you’re back. You live in a beautiful area – I love water!

  3. kgmom Says:

    You live 5 minutes from a lake that gorgeous? It’s a wonder you ever go inside and sit down to blog.
    And your photos show how resplendent nature can be even when the colors are muted.

  4. Lynne at Hasty Brook Says:

    Thanks fot taking us on the walk in the fresh air! I really needed it. Minnesota has seen highs in the low 40’s for the last two days- equally strange for us.

    Glad you’re back 🙂

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