Sundog snippets: Spring is finally here!

So … spring has finally arrived in northern Ontario, but the black flies and mosquitoes have me hiding inside.  I also find that I’m not as motivated by outdoor tasks as I once was.

One thing I’d usually start doing is set up my outdoor writing spot, A.K.A. the patio, but this year, Phil and I have made the decision to rid ourselves of some potentially dangerous, though lovely, trees.

We have a stand of 6 birches that have in recent years been dropping what Phil describes as “widow-makers.”  If someone gets hit by one of those, it’s game over.  Plus, they’re older than I am and if one of them should rot and fall (which happens with old birches) they could damage either our house, or my mom’s.

Soon to be departed trees

These are the birches and poplar

They’re about 30 feet high.  The poplar (actually a large-toothed aspen) is coming down incidentally, because of its proximity to the birches and to my mom’s house.  Last year, we had to trim it back, rather it had to be trimmed back by the roofers because it overhung Mom’s roof and would have damaged the new shingles otherwise.

The poplar can be pretty

The poplar’s rather pretty in spring, with its new silvery leaves and catkins hanging down.

The work will be done on May 29th, while I’m away, but I’ll come home to a new view and that weekend, Phil and I will set up the patio.

Another sign of spring that always happens around the Victoria Day Long Weekend is the blooming of the pin cherry trees.  The blooms don’t last long, but they are glorious while they last.

Pin cherries in bloom

They herald the coming of the lilacs (in about a week).

Lilacs on the way

I have a massive bunch of rhubarb.  I need to take some in for the girls at work.  If they can help me get through some of it this year, it will be a good thing.  We always have so much more than we can use.

My massive rhubarb

And one final gift: my one perfect tulip.

My one perfect tulip

Sundog snippet

6 thoughts on “Sundog snippets: Spring is finally here!

    • Yes, I’m a little attached to the trees. They’ve been here all my life. But I didn’t want to get all sappy and it’s why I took the pictures/blogged it: so I would always have a written reminder of my ladies (birches are always ladies, don’t you know). Thanks for stopping by Lara 🙂


  1. Oh for a good. not too sweet, rhubarb crumble and custard. I’m salivating already.
    I hope the ‘ladies’ come down safely Melanie and give you a new view from the porch, will you be planting something smaller in their place? Maybe some Buddleia bushes to attract butterflies and grip the soil together with their roots.


    • David,
      We have lots of rhubarb recipes in this house 🙂 One of my favourites is a coffee cake with brown sugar strudel topping. My mom makes loaves and muffins and the Mom-in-law makes a particularly delectable rhubarb custard pie of which your wish reminded me. Yum. Even so, we have far too much rhubarb for even the three of us to use in a season. When Phil and I bought our half-cow back in February, we had to toss a grocery bag brimming with frozen rhubarb packages.
      It may be had to see from the picture I took (unfortunately the sun was behind the trees), but there is a big honeysuckle bush and several more pin cherry trees that we hope will fill in without becoming too massive. Phil wants to build a proper deck in that area with a roof, but open sides, so not quite a gazebo. We’ll probably want to limit the tree growth in the area. Also, I have a pile of hostas and ferns planted in there, and a few bleeding hearts for spring colour and a proliferation of Engleman’s Ivy. I want to find a nursery somewhere in Ontario that sells propagated white Trilliums. Since they are our provincial flower, I’m hesitant to go rooting around in the bush. Though the prohibition is only against picking them, I don’t want to go disrupting their ecosystem either by digging them up. In any case, once I have the summer writing spot set up, I’ll likely post more pictures so you can see the chaotic lush of the perennials 🙂


  2. That is a perfect tulip. They are so pretty.

    And I’m with you on the mosquitoes. Those darned things are attracted to me like a magnet. I swear, there could be 15 people on a porch and those suckers would hone in on me alone.

    Hope they don’t last all summer for you. Down here in Kentucky they hang around until October or so. Groans…


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