As meteorological spring approaches, so does the yard work. Rosings Park is bursting at the seams, ready to explode with life. You know what that means: no rest for the Roth-Gates.

Kris and Tiffany spent most of Saturday working in the yard. They pruned the roses, fertilized them, and put down a layer of pine needle mulch (from our redwood). They pruned the fruit trees. The planted daylilies and clematis.

Meanwhile, I spent four hours enduring the hell that is pruning arborvitae. I hated this chore in Canby, and I hate it in Oak Grove. We don’t actually have any arborvitae on our property, but Curt and Tammy have a tall hedge on the border next to our vegetable garden. As you may recall from last year’s garden science entry, this hedge casts a long shadow. They let us trim the hedge by a couple of feet, and we hope that this will be enough to give us better sun on most of the garden. If it’s not, we will have to extend the garden further into the lawn than we’d already planned. We must have room for Kris’ army of tomatoes!

After Tiffany helped us pick up all the arborvitae debris, we found ourselves drained. Exhausted. Fortunately, Courtney (and Andrew) had prepared a wonderful southeast Asian dinner for us to share. We didn’t have to cook! We just had to drag our tired bodies a few miles and force ourselves to eat delicious food like Indonesian chicken and mango with sticky rice.

We slept well last night.

Today we walked up to the store to purchase miscellaneous garden supplies. I got a new pear of gloves and another grape plant. We really want an Interlaken; the flavor is fantastic. We’re not certain which varieties we actually planted in 2004. There were Interlaken cuttings in the mix, but it’s kind of crapshoot as to what actually got planted. Now we have one for sure.

Though the yard has laid dormant for most of the winter, there has been a little activity. There are always birds. There are always squirrels. Over the past couple months I’ve snapped a few photos that I keep meaning to share.

First is a photo of a crazy sparrow. Last summer a family of sparrows made a nest in the roof above the workshop. Momma and Poppa Sparrow gave birth to a family of small family, and then the whole group left at the end of the summer. A few weeks ago Kris told me that I needed to go out to the workshop because I’d accidentally shut a bird inside. When I went out it became clear that the bird wasn’t trapped inside; he was trapped outside.

This little sparrow wanted into the workshop. Why? My only hypothesis is that he was part of the family that lived in the eaves. Whatever the case, he spent ten or fifteen minutes fluttering against the window, trying to force his way inside. He was skittish, though, and flew away any time I got close. This was the best photo I could snatch of his antics:

Last weekend we had some freezing temperatures. This made the robins cranky. They’ve only just begun showing up around the yard, drawn primarily by the bird baths. With the sever cold, the bird baths froze hard. Kris would add water when she could, but even the new water froze within half an hour. The robins would gather on top of the ice and stage mass protests. I once saw six robins on top of the ice. Here are four:

A few weeks ago I took a bath in the late afternoon. The sky was clear so that the setting sun bathed the yard in deep golden hues. The bathroom window fogged, and I thought the effect was ethereal. The camera didn’t capture it as well as I’d have liked, but still: here’s one of those abstract shots I mentioned I like (and plan to take more of):

Finally, the cats love the spring because it means family time in the yard. If you check the Flickr sidebar, you’ll find pictures of each of our children helping us in the yard.

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