Spring officially arrived back on the 20th of March, and there have been some great days here and there. It has been great seeing all the leaves beginning to show back up on the trees again, as well as the spring flowers peeking through the ground. It has also been good to see the green lawns again, as well as see and hear the birds again.
When we are once again able to hear an American robin’s light, musical cheerily, cheerio, you also know that spring as arrived. They look forward to the ground thawing after the long, cold winter, as they know the worms will soon be breaking through the surface.
It is interesting observing how the American robins, which have yellow bills and orange beaks, tilt their heads as you see them making their way around your yard. They tilt their heads so that they can listen for juicy worms. They use both visual and auditory clues to hunt down their favorite slimy snacks.
One Irish superstition says, “A wish made upon seeing the first robin in spring will come true, but only if you complete the wish before the robin flies away.”
In addition to the return of the robins, it is also good to see many other birds, including hummingbirds, back in our yards. Hummingbirds will stay if you help provide them some of that sugar water they so enjoy. Mix 1 cup of white granulated sugar with 4 cups of water. Boil it and then let it cool to help reduce impurities in the solution. Then pour it into a hummingbird feeder and sit back and watch. They are truly fascinating birds to watch.
Spring also marks the return of the monarch butterflies from their winter homes in Central and Southern Mexico.
When monarchs sense the subtle warmth of spring, the surviving butterflies embark on their return trip north. That generation – the same one that flew nearly 3,000 miles last fall, will make it as far north as Texas. Once they reach that corner of the world they search for milkweed, which is where they will lay their eggs before dying off, allowing the successive generations to continue to migrate north.
It takes four generations of monarchs to complete the annual round-trip flight. The monarchs that fly to Mexico in the fall have never been to the oyamel forests where their great-grandparents wintered, and yet, the monarchs return to the same trees year after year.
There is a great concern of the survival of the monarch butterfly. There isn’t milkweed to be found like there once was, some due to the climate change, illegal logging in Mexico, and the overuse of herbicides.
In the last two decades, the monarch population has plummeted from 682 million in 1997 to just 42 million in 2015. I guess we need to start raising milkweed again if we want to keep seeing those beautiful monarch butterflies!
I don’t know where the days of April have disappeared to, but before we know it May 1st will be here.
I remember how much fun we had as kids on May Day. It was exciting to prepare May baskets to mark the coming of spring.
When we would be able to get out to the lake, my sister, Kaye, and I would secretly leave May baskets at the homes of our friends the night before. In Geneva we brought May baskets to our friends and neighbors after school. It was such a simple thing, but it was fun.
I can’t even image how many chocolate chip cookies I’ve made. I miss it, but my mind tells me it probably wasn’t as good as I thought it was. Changing from sweet treats to fruit isn’t fun, but it makes sense.
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, April 27th: Brian Schember, Norma Robertson, Heidi & Christopher Olson
• Friday, April 28th: Martin Rossing, Rodney Peterson, Mildred Flugum, Jamie Cameron, Jean & Chuck Groth
• Saturday, April 29th: Arden James Routh, Derek Anthony Kubicek, his 11th; Jane Brocker, Roberta Dettman, Angie Hall, Mitchell Jensen, Pat & Linda Goodnature, Jennifer & Steve Schultz
• Sunday, April 30th: Nancy Williams, Jeff Misgen, Paul Moen, Dawn Cooper, Kevin Cooper, Jonathon Lein, Karey Dufresne, Judah Ashton, Jonathon Lein, Rick & Melonie Miller
• Monday, May 1st: May Day! Carter Levi Titus, Jim Hanson, Shirley Pichner Helgeson, Christopher “Critter” Johnson, Luke Dobberstein, Gene Budach, Sandi Otto Glenn, Richard Helmers, Sue Kasper Anderson, Tim Kasper, Norma Long, Cari Jensen, Thomas Van Riper, Veronica & Jim Graf, Heidi & Ryan Baldwin
• Tuesday, May 2nd: Shayna Kress and Tyler Kress, their 7th; Jack Benjamin Oween, his 9th; Diane Smith, Ted Radke, Jill Goodnature Kubicek, Bonnie Shaunce, Stephanie Corey, DeWayne Farr, Nolin Joe Simmons, his 12th; Joshua Nicholas Paulsen, Roger Anderson, Gerald & Mildred Flugum, Dean & Carolyn Wangen
• Wednesdasy, May 3rd: Jase Dean Knudson, Cassidy Worrell, Fern Possin, Justin Robertson, Dale Dulas, Wayne Dobberstein, Anthony Brandt, Merle Bartness, Lean (Ruth) & William (Bill) Scott
• Thursday, May 4th: Joyce Wayne, Angie Aaseth, Daniel Knudson, Kenneth Schumacher, Charles Wangsness, Keith Miller, Shirley Draayer Anderson, Dean Heskett, Thad Tuttle, Leslie Ray Farr, Jessica Marcus, Julia Elizabeth Rye, Brooklyn Cecila Strand, her 12th; Melonie Butler, Lexi Jo Brandstad
• Friday, May 5th: Mckenzie Lynn Jensen and Alexis Janning, will both turn 16th; Brynna Grace Ingvaldson, Jeff Draayer, Shirley Jensen, Melody Krenke, Ron Langlie, Ryan Larson, Shirley Swearingen, Amber Obermoller, Dennis Sauke, Martin Whelan, Tim & Jolene Sorenson, Kevin & Annie Avery
Wishing you sunshine and flowers and many wonderful days ahead.