Monday, February 25, 2013

Spring... So Soon?

On February 2nd, the most famous groundhog in the country, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, did something slightly unusual. He awoke from his den in Gobbler’s Knob, and took a look around as he does every year. This year however, he didn’t see his shadow which means an early spring.
Sleeping Lady, seen from a snowshoe tour at the
Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery.
Since Groundhog Day record keeping began, Phil and his ancestors have seen their shadow 100 times and have only predicted a quicker coming of spring 16 times. I haven’t figured out how Phil can see into the future, but he’s not the only weather forecasting critter out there. Birmingham Bill, a ground hog residing at the local zoo in my home town, Birmingham Alabama, also failed to see his shadow this year. Numerous other groundhogs throughout the country were in agreement with Bill and Phil and predicted an early spring, although a few did see their shadows.
I have to say that even though I’m not sure if a groundhog is really a better weather predictor than a meteorologist, when I walk outside it does feel like spring is almost here. For the past few weeks I’ve been watching the piles of snow in corners of parking lots grow smaller and smaller. Now, in Wenatchee at least, it seems that all the snow is gone and according to a number of prophetic groundhogs, it may not be coming back till next year.
I’m filled with mixed feelings as I watch the winter melt away.  I’m extremely excited about upcoming spring and summer outings but I was really enjoying some of the newfound winter recreation that I’d been doing and I’m not sure I’m ready stop. I’ve been helping Friends of Northwest Hatcheries and Wenatchee Outdoors lead snowshoe tours in Leavenworth and in Squilchuck State Park. I built a quinzhee and went camping near Icicle creek. On a trip to Jackson Wyoming to visit friends I went sledding, engaged in some snowball combat, and discovered that hiking in deep powdery snow without snowshoes can be very slow going. The one thing on my list I still haven’t tried is skiing! Despite Phil’s warm weather predictions I’m hoping to get up to the ski hill and make a fool of myself soon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pick Your Plants

Woods Rose has fragrant pink flowers
in the summer, and rosehips in the fall.
The Native Plant Sale ordering deadline is almost here!  If you’re still deciding which plants are right for you check out our 2013 Plant Brochure. Friday February 15th is the deadline for this year’s plant sale. We haven’t run out of anything yet, but some things are going faster than others!
There are many benefits to planting native trees and shrubs. Native plants are adapted to the local environment and so they generally require less maintenance than exotic or ornamentals. Because native plants do so well in our area you can expect to spend substantially less time and money worrying about irrigating and fertilizing. Many of the species offered in this year’s sale are both drought and fire tolerant! They also provide more benefits to wildlife. Native plants provide the types of food and shelter that our local critters both need and want.
Plants are available as bare root stock, meaning they do not come in containers or burlap bags. They are harvested in winter when the plants are dormant and arrive ready to be replanted in your landscape. Plants are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and quantities are limited. A minimum 50% deposit is required to hold your order. Fully prepaid orders are appreciated. We are sorry, but we are unable to accept credit cards at this time. Visit our website for more details and an Order Form.

All orders must be received by February 15, 2013.

Plants will be distributed at the Stemilt Growers Warehouse in north Wenatchee on Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 10am-1pm. A map to the pick-up site will be sent to you along with a reminder as the pick-up date approaches. Please be aware that any unclaimed plants will be considered abandoned and used for conservation projects. There are no refunds for plant orders not picked up.