May 18, 2008

May Long Weekend

We drove up to the property on Friday night and got there while the sun was still up. When we arrived at the campsite we were greeted by bouquets of daffodils blooming in the gardens. It was so exciting for me to see all the hard work from last autumn pay off with such a beautiful display. We had brought up a whole truckload of shrubs and perennials, and this was going to be our big planting weekend of the year. The night was cool but it was really great to sit in front of a roaring campfire again. We heard a Barred Owl hooting in the woods and had an unknown visitor (lynx?) pass through the forest with speed and agility.

On Saturday I woke up when the birds started their morning songs. I heard an American Robin, Hermit Thrushes, a noisy Blue Jay, a Barred Owl and an American Bittern, which sounded like it was on the road. Jared had to go into Wilberforce to get some black earth to top up the gardens. Just after he left it began to rain and didn't stop until the afternoon. The blackflies and mosquitos were especially bothersome, and we were really happy that we bought a screen tent (although it wasn't waterproof enough for the rainfall we had). While I was sitting in the bug tent, a Hermit Thrush visited our campsite to check it out and even landed on the side of our firepit. They are nesting in the hole in The Rock again this year. Once the rain stopped we took a walk in the woods to check out the blooming Common Hobblebush, and discovered more than 20 Painted Trilliums in the area as well. This was a huge discovery for me because I had never seen them before. After our walk we got to work and planted almost everything we brought with us. We also created some more tiers in the garden between the big rocks, and now there are four levels stepping down into the campsite. It looks really amazing! We also built a new shrub garden near the barbeque for some interest throughout the year. The Browntown crew came up and hung around our place for dinner and a campfire. The night was clear and the stars were gorgeous, but it was pretty cold.

This morning we crawled out of warm sleeping bags to face the cold morning air and the annoying insects once again. The chickadees and nuthatches were at the bird feeder and Jared even saw a hummingbird fly by. We had two chipmunks hanging out with us, which was nice because we thought they had all been picked off by the lynx that hangs around. We finished planting and mulched all the garden areas. I also discovered some Northern White Violets growing in a patch, and a few Red Trilliums blooming as well. Despite the blackflies and mosquitos, this is one of the most beautiful times of the year at Rock Pile Ridge.