A few housekeeping observations, if I may; I've been unable to do much blogreading or commenting this week because the place I've been staying at night has not-very-speedy internet. Better than dialup, but not much. So I'll play catchup this weekend. Also, these photos are from my iPhone, since I didn't have my real camera with me yesterday. Hence they couldn't be focused or corrected for exposure, for obvious reasons. My iPhone is awesome as phone, iPod, mail client, webbrowser, etc. As camera...not so much.
I smelled it yesterday when I came out of the place where I stay while on my project in Liverpool. A warmer hint on the air, a sweetness in the salt tang of the Atlantic at my feet. Come lunch time, even though wearing the wrong shoes for the trip, I jumped in the car and went to Pine Grove.
Pine Grove is this exquisite jewel of a pocket wilderness in Milton, just outside of Liverpool. It's owned and maintained by BowaterMersey, a timber and paper company located in Brooklyn and a large employer in Queens and Lunenburg counties. They have four pocket wildernesses, some quite large, in southwestern Nova Scotia. Pine Grove is one of my favourite places to go, with its mature pine forest, quiet trails, and waterways.
There's still a bit of snow in the more shaded parts of the forest grove, but most of it is long gone, as it is from most of the south shore.
There's still ice in the pond, but it's disappearing quickly; another few days of mild, SPRINGLIKE weather should take it away completely. The ducks swimming in the water, and walking on the ice, didn't seem too concerned by any of it, or by my presence.
Can you see the ducks, at the open end of the ice? (IPhone camera also has no zoom capabilities. It is what it is. )
In less than a month, that ridge at the far end of the waterway will be ablaze with colour, as the PJM and Ramapo rhododendrons and azaleas burst into bloom. Liverpool and Queens county are about a zone warmer than the Fundy hill where I live, so they're a few weeks ahead of me. Which is rather wonderful, because I'll get a dose of spring on days that I'm here, and it'll help me cope with the toying-with-our-affections that is April in Scotts Bay.
There's this wonderful grove of ornamentals planted by Captain Dick Steele of Bayport Plant Farm, including a host of magnolias and some rather choice evergreens. The magnolias will begin blooming in about six weeks, I'm guessing. We'll see how far off I am.
Before I even got up the little knoll into this grove, I could smell this hamamelis on the air. And I have to tell you, the joy that suffused my heart was amazing. You'd have sworn I won the lottery, I was so happy.
I could have happily stayed here for the afternoon, roaming around the paths, sitting in contemplation of buds and catkins and birdsong. But duty called and I tore myself away and headed back to my wordsmithing.
But I'll be back to Pine Grove on many days over the coming weeks, because this is a piece of pastoral tranquility that everyone should share. Next time, I'll bring my real camera, I promise. Likewise, I promise to catch up with some of you over the next few days.