Spring is sprung!

Spring has definitely sprung here in the eastern USA, bringing lovely colors, cascades of pollen, and a resurgence in wildlife.

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The trees around the neighborhood are sporting their spring finery, with pink and white blossoms everywhere. Even the non-blossom trees are looking spiffy in their new, bright-green leaves.

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Being a city lass, I have no idea, unfortunately, what most of these trees are.

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These beauties are all over the area, bursting forth in spectacular big pink blooms every spring.

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But with the beauty comes the pollen. Which means, at the least, five minutes sluicing yellow sludge off the car windows every morning.

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You also have to be careful not to track too much of the stuff into the house after walking down the street.

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For allergy sufferers, it also means 2-4 weeks of gasping and wheezing and sneezing. An allergy doctor once told me that the combination of flora, pollution, and wind patterns (something to do with air mass getting trapped) makes this mid-Atlantic region particularly bad for allergy sufferers. The TV ads for various remedies are certainly in full swing.

The weeds are also bursting forth with a vengeance. For some reason, thistles like the two small flower beds at the bottom of our front path. I went away for a couple of days this weekend, and came back to find that the little two-inch thistle heads that had been nudging up above the ground on Friday are suddenly foot-tall menaces. I think Pennsylvania thistles have some triffid DNA. I’ll be spending the next five months yanking the things out of the ground — along with dandelions, some kind of weird non-flowering wild geranium, and wild grape vine that grows rapidly and quickly overwhelms even the hardiest shrubs and trees. (The white stuff littering the path is spent blossom from our flowering cherry tree; it’s been cascading down like snow every time the wind stirs.)

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Along with the pollen and the weeds, the mice are back, apparently looking for somewhere with a ready food supply — i.e., my kitchen — for their spring breeding. I’m all for live and let live, but not when it comes to uninvited guests in my house. So the mouse traps are now baited and strategically placed on countertops and in the corner of the pantry. As the bait is little blobs of peanut butter, I have to be careful where they’re located or the dog (who loves peanut butter) will get a nasty shock.

I haven’t spotted the local chipmunks yet; they, at least, stay out of doors. I suspect they’re nesting behind the big air conditioner compressors as the dog is suddenly very interested in sniffing around there.

fullsizeoutput_17The rabbits are also reappearing in the back garden — at this time of the year the mature adults are feeling bold, waiting until the last minute to lazily hop under a bush whenever the dog goes outside. In the picture above you can just see one of the locals, hanging out next to the birdbath. In a few weeks the younger ones will be out and about, and they tend to be a bit more skittish. Thankfully, the dog hasn’t caught one yet — she just chases them out of the garden and then snacks on their leavings. That’s right, some dogs think rabbit poop is a delicacy. No words.

Along with blossom, pollen, weeds, and rodents, the seasonal fauna known as lawn care companies are also slowly reappearing on the suburban streets. By mid-May, the sound of big ride-on lawnmowers and hand-held trimmers will be thrumming and slicing their way across the neighborhood most mornings, until early October. You know when someone’s lawn is about to get its weekly cut by the loud clangs as the company trailers park on the street and drop their loads. Yes, there are some hardy souls who cut their own grass every weekend — but ‘round here, not many. The gardens can be pretty big, the grass grows very rapidly, and for the allergy sufferers mowing the lawn on a Sunday afternoon is a serious health hazard. So much easier to pay someone else to do it while you’re out at work, so you can enjoy a tidy lawn at the weekend.

About abroadintheusa

An expat Brit who's lived and worked in the USA for more than three decades.
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