Skip navigation

Category Archives: spring

What do you want for your birthday? I always hope to see something wonderful or have a wonderful time doing something I enjoy. Yesterday, the first day or Spring, was my birthday.

The girls and I headed over to the Okanogan in hopes of finding enough bare, snow-free ground for a good hike. Well good luck with that. Winter continues to linger on most of the hills unless they are steep and south-facing. We did manage to do some rambling and scrambling but the rotten snow was a challenge for a good walk and the open hillsides that were snow-free are so badly damaged by intensive grazing and wildfire that there are few native plants and lots of weeds. Since the big fires of 2014 many fences have been built in hopes of keeping livestock out of the creeks and this is a good thing. However, I crossed, over and under, numerous strings of barbed wire during our little outing.

Giving up on that, we headed across the Okanogan to the Timentwa Flats in search of Sandhill Cranes. But once again, winter’s grip is slow to let go and all the little lakes were frozen and the ground was snow-covered. I did see several Rough-legged Hawks and some Snow Buntings, both winter birds in our area, along with some vibrant Mountain Bluebirds and a pair of Killdeer walking on ice. It was a mixed bag. The road got progressively worse and I didn’t want to take a chance of getting caught in the mud so we turned around and gave up on that route.

We headed down to the Big River and Washburn Island. I knew it was snow-free and warm. We were able to walk all the way around it. At one point a Red-tailed Hawk circled above, screeching at us. Maybe there is a nest nearby? We were surprised when a small group of Sandhill Cranes lifted from the unseen cattails behind a row of Russian olive trees and flew around us landing somewhere behind where we had already walked. Sky enjoyed jumping in the Columbia and at the end we observed a Great Horned Owl in a nest.

All in all a pretty good birthday adventure and a beautiful day!

Everyday there is something to observe. With the melting snow, we can see where the dogs relieved themselves all winter. New wildflowers pop up overnight. Birds return from their winter haunts and declare their territories with loud calls and repeated banging. It rains. The mud returns. The sun shines. We go out and work furiously. And then it snowed.

March has brought us all sort of winter-like weather but I think that spring is finally settling in. Most of the snow is melted. For the first time in four months, there are deer walking around on our hill. It was a hard winter to be a deer in the valley. Wild Turkeys seem to be wandering around here too. Birds are selecting nest boxes and building nests. Tiny wildflowers are growing and blooming.

Finally, the snow is retreating, leaving enough bare ground that a person can safely walk without getting her feet wet. Muddy, but not wet. Little patches of green grass are everywhere (except in our yard which is a whole other topic best left alone). Tiny forbs are sending out small shoots and I was even able to find one tiny flower. Sky found her own treasure.

We live in this house because it has an incredible view from the river valley to the high peaks of the Pasayten Wilderness. Besides that, there is no practical reason to live here.

Additionally, their are pretty good small views – wildflowers and birds too. This year, the flowers are all coming fast and furious – early with bountiful foliage and intense colors. Without some late spring rains, in a month from now we will be facing brown, crinkly hillsides. So we enjoy the colors and scents now.

%d bloggers like this: