Wikipedia photo of a pileated woodpecker.
I saw one of these big woodpeckers drumming on a big spruce while walking the dogs in our woods today. This makes one of only a handful I've seen since moving to Maine nearly twelve years ago. This isn't the one I saw, but it's more or less identical, and in the same kind of setting.
Later in the year the flickers and peckers will be drumming on trees to attract mates. We see a lot of the smaller hoary and downy woodpeckers too. Sometimes they drum on our house.
Other than seeing a woodpecker, the big news is that it's spring break already. We're in fairly good shape this semester, not too tired. In fact Aimee is doing a but of spring cleaning as I write this.
I can remember spring breaks when we just collapsed in dull, exhausted stupidity on the evening of the last day of class. But we both have lower teaching loads due to administrative duties, and while our hours are just as long, there's less stress if you teach less.
The rain has been spitting a little all day, but we're supposed to get a huge downpour tomorrow, and very warm temperatures of 45 or 47 degrees F.
This will make an interesting mess out of the snowbanks around our driveway. We've been living a strange, constricted kind of life in the spaces between these five and six-foot tall snowbanks for weeks now.
It was of course inevitable that the snow would melt eventually and it sounds like it's going to happen beginning tomorrow. Another two to four weeks will see the end of it.
The end of winter is always a little gross.
There's one particularly nasty day when I go around with a shovel and pick up all the dog's winter jobbies, dozens of them, and hoy them into the undergrowth. There's usually a large amount of splintered shrapnel left over from the firewood operation in the dooryard that must be picked up. Another job is to rake up the nasty sand and gravel left by the plow truck, for which I use the York rake on the tractor.
But after that, a little grass seed, and we'll be back soon enough to our long green lawns and lush pastures. Our front lawn catches the setting sun, and it's nice to have the lawn chairs out in late April and early May, and watch the grass grow back.