Two-leaved toothwort (Cardamine diphylla) and cut-leaved toothwort (Cardamine concatenate) sometimes grow close together, causing a person to wonder why they bother to have two different species. The leaves of both of these spring ephemerals will turn a lovely autumnal yellow and die soon after trees leaf out.
There’s an enormous patch of wild leeks not far from our house. You could pick those leeks for hours with no remorse. Not often the case and, besides, it’s probably not a good idea to eat them by the bushel.
Most tree buds are still just buds, but they are a little fatter. Red berried elderberry, on the other hand, now has quite big leaves.
I’ve seen a number of “silver lining” commentaries recently. This is not one of them: there isn’t such a thing in the midst of a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands and put tens of millions out of work. This is simply a reminder that, if you’re forced to stay at home, you can be grateful if your home is in rural Vermont. Even in April. Even in an April where it won’t seem to stop snowing. I can’t count the number of times, as we’ve walked our fields and woods recently, that my wife and I have commented on how fortunate we are to not be stuck inside a city high-rise apartment. The time at home has also removed excuses for putting off jobs around our farm. We have an eight-acre field that has been steadily shrinking as the hedgerow around it creeps in. So for the last month, we’ve been cutting it back. And, as a bonus, keeping our outdoor woodstove in business even as our season’s supply of “real” firewood has run out. Hedgerow firewood is an unpredictable amalgamation of sizes and species. We’ve cut 12-inch-diameter cherry and 2-inch beech; white birch and white pine; spruce and striped maple. There are not a ton of BTUs involved, but plenty enough to heat our house and hot water in spring temperatures. More importantly, we’re keeping our field from being choked down and keeping ourselves outdoors.