Sunday, March 18, 2012

More signs of spring

It isn't just warm temperatures that make for springtime.

What would spring be without ants? Especially ants in the house? You might remember that Gozer spread garbage all over the floor a little while ago. Well, last night we were taking her outside when we looked down at the carpet and there was this dark, fuzzy spot. I was really tired and my eyes weren't working but I thought that I saw movement in the fuzzy spot. Ian touched it and we saw that I was right: there was movement there. The little brown sidewalk ants had found a spot of leftover residue and were all over it.

There weren't nearly as many ants there as we had last year and there were no trails leading to and from the spot so we weren't too freaked out by the ants. We were annoyed, of course, because it was late and we were tired. We got out the vacuum and got most of them and them put out a trap. This morning we put out some diatomaceous earth mixed with icing powder in a closed margarine container with holes poked in it so that the ants will want to get in but Gozer can't get at the stuff. After all, ant traps and diatomaceous earth aren't good for dogs.

The number of ants we're seeing is slowly decreasing and they don't seem to have any trails leading to or from anything so I think we're going to be ok. I don't like ants in the house and the fact that we've had them two years in a row does not leave me feeling happy. We're fairly certain that the ants are coming through the patio doors somehow so we need to think about getting a new patio door put in to stop the yearly ant visit.

I'm much happier about the other harbringer of spring that we saw. You might remember that we had to prune a grafted tree outside our kitchen window last year. The rootstock had shot upwards and the grafted weeping part was all dead-looking. We know know what kind of tree it is because it's started to bud in a very special way, by forming the softest little catkins.... also known as pussywillows.

That's right - it's a pussywillow tree!!!! At least, the weeping part is a pussywillow tree; the rootstock is probably goat willow. I do love pussywillows because they are so soft and they remind me both of spring and happy times. When I was growing up, a house two down from ours had a huge pussywillow tree. I don't remember what happened to it (I think it was later cut down or died or something); I just have this memory of seeing it one spring and being enthralled by it. Somehow the few soft little pussywillows that have shown up - and the ones that are on the way - fill me with the same happiness.

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