Happy Imbolc and Groundhog Day 2022!


Yellow warbler sitting in the Silver maple tree next door. I hadn't noticed the Spring buds until I had this close up photo.


Today's posting from Earthsky.org explained that Feb. 2nd is a cross quarter day or halfway between Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox hence the timing of Groundhog day from long ago. In Ireland Imbolc is celebrated after sundown Feb. 1 and on Feb. 2. I first learned of Imbolc by watching two YouTube channels from Ireland: Bealtaine Cottage and Danu's Irish Herb garden.


The stars are aligning for me today, Feb. 2. We have sunshine, bird song, sprouting spring bulbs and the cedar waxwings returned. I'm even expecting a few small stones to arrive today from an Etsy order for the green man's concrete base. I had hoped that the ivy would take over the base, but its been a slow process. I plan on gluing the stones/crystals to the base just to make it more interesting.

And then things change....Sir Walter Wally, Raleigh's groundhog has just predicted six more weeks of winter for us. He might be right, while tomorrow Durham will be in the sixties, we are predicted to have rain and sleet on Sunday, Feb. 6th.


Here's one of my beautiful surprise visitors.


Even the robins eat these berries. I know that there have been a few reports of birds dying from ligustrum berries. I have never witnessed this. These birds come each winter to feed and appear fine. Some say that the seeds in the berries are poisonous and that the birds usually pass these preventing them from being poisoned. We pull up any seedlings that we see, but the two large trees/bushes can stay until they die. I'm not a biologist so I can't say why the birds seem to be fine. I have noticed that nobody eats the poisonous berries on the nandinas in the far back.


Unusually, we have had three weekends in a row with snow and frozen precipitation. The accumulation here was very spotty though.


We did have fun observing the animal tracks. I think this is a rabbit track.

More rabbit tracks? Update- Julie thinks these tracks likely a cat or raccoon.

Squirrels seeking shelter on the front porch.

The Great British Snow Shoveler was also spotted next door.

Maddie Rose is patiently waiting to play outside more with her squirrel friends. She doesn't catch them, but she could if she wanted. We watch her to make sure no one is hurt especially in the Spring when babies are at the feeder. So far, she is content to tree them. The squirrels seem to understand that, too.

To everyone who is snowed under or waiting to be snowed under, "stay warm and safe"!


Waiting..........


Magnolia stellata Royal Star