Story last updated at 5/27/2009 - 11:01 am
Remember those two weeks of actual blazing sun back in early May? Remember how everyone became filled with irrational hope, saying things like, "Wow, do you think it will last? Maybe this whole summer will actually be SUNNY!"
No sooner had I planted my tediously mothered little seedlings in the greenhouse than temperatures reverted back to chilly and the sky to a less blinding, familiar shade of white. People altered their comments to more like, "Well, I guess we had our summer - nice two weeks, too. Alright then."
Despite the wishy-washy weather, I can still tell it's spring/summer by watching the movements and activities of the wildlife around me. The hummingbirds are back and the black bears have emerged, although I've seen just one bear so far and it was very small.
Many of the local loons (the web-footed ones - not the people) remain on the saltwater over the summer and deliver their eerie calls throughout the day. Our loquacious neighbors, the bald eagle couple, Beatrice and Wilbur, have returned to their nest on a nearby island, offering trills and whistles of glorious expectation. Soon I'll enjoy watching them urge the youngsters out of the nest. Time to leave the aerie, Harry. Last year Beatrice had to perch at the top of a tree across from the nest and recite her entreaty for hours before the kids agreed to turn off the tv and hustle outside to learn to hunt for themselves. I soon saw the two of them assembled on a fallen log at the water's edge, studying the surrounding area, somewhat clueless.
The Canadian Geese which were, up until recently, nibbling the new grass, have left to tend their nests - many are seen feeding in the estuary now. Like a good citizen, I picked up after the geese that were here along my stretch of beach and responsibly recycled the material into my compost bin. We all have to do our part.
The Sitka black-tailed deer, many of whom have been observed in a state of predisposition to giving birth, help remind us the season is young.
A few days ago, (mid-May) on a usual walk up the rocky beach from my cabin, I was amazed to discover thousands of mostly tiny limpets (an eighth of an inch to half an inch) just everywhere for a mile. I walk this stretch of beach every day so it is not difficult to notice something like that. Limpets are a type of snail with a pointy (conical) shaped shell that adhere to rocks and such.
The next morning, after a high tide, they were gone but covering just about every rock on that same stretch were endless tiny, brown specks. Under closer examination I see that they are very tiny limpets! It is my understanding that they start out as larvae and ride the waves for a matter of weeks until settling on a substrate.
So I am unclear about the connection, if there is one, of all those larger limpets moving through before the larvae landed on shore. More research is needed. Along with the new birth of limpets, lots of baby snails and barnacles dot the rocks and hatches of insects are dense here and there.
Future harvests are hopeful by the evidence of new growth on the beach - goose tongue and yarrow are several inches tall, the bright pink shooting star is in bloom and even the beach asparagus is half an inch tall already.
It is all so exciting. I, for one, am looking forward to watching the season unfold.