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(HOST) Despite the chilly temperatures, commentator Edith Hunter is confident that spring is here.

(HUNTER)How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed ~~
On through the watching for that early birth.
Robert Frost

Nothing lifts my spirit like a sprouted seed!

Against my gardening-daughter’s advice (she says it is too early),
I started mine two days after Town Meeting – three kinds of tomatoes, basil, and celery. Exactly one week later one basil and four tomato seeds had already sprouted.

What a miracle! Out of those tiny specks of seeds buried in the black potting soil, emerge the lovely little green shoots. My seedlings sit on a tray by a southeast facing window. The sprouts are almost transparent as they drink in the slanting rays of the equinoctial sun.

From that same window I can see the sugarhouse and several of our maple trees sporting buckets. No steam is emerging from the roof vents; no smoke from the smokestack. Although Graham tapped out just before Town Meeting, the sap runs have been few and far between. It has either been too warm, or too cold. I have made very little syrup. I feel powerless, waiting for nature to get it just right for the next sap run.

My seedlings are less frustrating. I put them in the soil in their little pots, give them enough water, watch the sun warm them,
and – within a few days, they have sprouted.

When Graham was tapping out last week he saw robins in the big mowing south of the house. But the winter birds are oblivious to this sign of spring. The nuthatches and titmice, the chickadees and the various finches, continue to empty the feeders.

And the woodpeckers – I have never seen so many – continue to hack the suet to pieces. The other day when I came in to work at the computer, I was astonished to see a female and male pileated woodpecker at the suet holder outside the window. There has been ample evidence, these last few years, of the presence of the pileated at work on some of the old maples on the Center Road. In their search for insects they gouge out long, rectangular hollows in the tree trunks, depositing telltale piles of wood chips on the ground below.

But I had never before had these large woodpeckers visit my suet holders. From the window by my computer I had a wonderful view of the male’s bright red skull cap. They did not appreciate my watching them, and flew off to work on the Center Road trees.

This is Edith Hunter on the Center Road.

Writer and historian Edith Hunter lives in Weathersfield Center.

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