When people aren’t complaining about drought, conversations turn to dog ticks. How many did you pick off your dog or yourself today?

The dry weather continues in most places. The US Drought Monitor has most of Vermont listed as “abnormally dry,” with the eastern part of the state listed as “moderate drought.”

It continues to be scarily dry and crunchy in the woods, with no major rains in the forecast. Even a short-lived thunderstorm would be eagerly welcomed at this point.

If, by chance,

you found a baby barred owl hatchling in the grass beneath a nest that was 30-feet-up in a dead white pine — way too high to climb — you might find a nearby tree cavity that you could reach and stow the little one in there. Feed it freshly trapped, chopped-up mice. Wait for the parents to locate it and take over the feeding themselves.

Morels! Morels! Morels!

Both black ash and white ash leaf out much later than most other trees and are now easy to spot. The flattened, tan-colored bark on many ash trees sometimes makes them look like they have a bad case of mange. But this condition is caused by a fungus that just feeds on dead bark and does no harm. Not to be confused with damage from the emerald ash borer.

Hummingbirds have been reported in the past few days not far from where I live. They typically arrive here around May 15th. It’s been a bit colder than normal here in the past month, making a person wonder what’s up.

Raven chicks on a ledge on a cliff face near here are fluffy. The insides of their begging mouths are bright red.

After waiting for a long time for a warm sunny day that didn’t happen, serviceberry buds decided it’s time to open. Roadsides are now very pretty.