Monday, April 9, 2012

Dogberry Winter

Now that Middle Tennessee weather has re-adjusted itself to seasonal, we are having one of our April chill snaps, one of our predictable spring "winters". But in this strange year "Blackberry Winter" and "Dogwood Winter" are here at the same time, so I am calling them "Dogberry Winter", which sounds better than "Black Dog Winter". Tonight it may drop to just above frost, which will be bad news for tomato plants everywhere. Even the plants that don't blacken will sulk and sit motionless until the warm weather comes back. I planted peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes for years, and not once did they go into Nashville earth before Mid-May.

Since migrating birds have more common sense than we do, they come back in numbers starting in mid-April, when the Tennessee Ornithological Society begins its spring bird walks at Radnor Lake. 7:30 every Wednesday from April 11 until mid-May, and I hope to go on all of them, taking my camera and broken binoculars( I can only see through one eyepiece) with me. In the last few years I have tried to learn spring warblers by call, since spotting them in 100 foot trees can be a neck cracking experience, and the chances are when one sees small birds in tall trees that they are certain to be chickadees-

And here is the blossom of the Tulip tree, blooming now.

And another blossom, found in a small patch of Paw Paw trees beside the Main Drive in Percy Warner Park.

Perhaps this summer, if the raccoons, the possums, the coyotes, the chipmunks, and the birds don't get there first, we may find the Paw Paw fruit, or Custard-Apple, fallen to the ground.

Kentucky State University has a webpage about the Paw Paw, with recipes for Paw Paw custard and Paw Paw Pie. Some fruit farmers are growing it commercially, though I have yet to see it for sale. The fruit tastes like bananas and grapefruit, some say. That must be why the Native Indians were fond of it.

*This photo comes from WikiPedia.

And what migrant birds did my friend and I see or hear on our Sunday walk? The Black-Throated Green Warbler, and the Blue Gray Gnatcatcher.

Perhaps I will have better luck today.

1 comment:

Out on the prairie said...

The Paw-paw was a favorite tree with my grandmother.I am sure she fixed some great treats with them for her 9 siblings.