A glorious sunny day today that made it above freezing. Yes we have snow and ice melt and 43F (6C) degrees. Hooray! It will all freeze again tonight but tomorrow is supposed to be above freezing again and the trend is forecast to continue through the rest of the week. We have a lot of snow and ice to melt, it will be a couple weeks of above freezing temperatures before bare ground begins to appear and no doubt there will be days that don’t make it above freezing and we will surely have more snow. But at long last it finally feels like winter is coming to an end.

I spent about 45 minutes today outdoors in the sun chipping ice off the sidewalk. I got so warm I had to take off my mittens and scarf and unzip my coat. I would have taken my coat off too if I had anyplace to put it but on top of a snowbank. It felt good to be outdoors and not shivering.

I am reading a really good book at the moment called Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy. He is a professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware. The book is about the importance of plant and wildlife diversity and emphasizes using native plants in the garden. Really it is about the importance of insects and plants. Insects are the largest class of herbivores on the planet and while many of them are generalists, they will eat just about anything, a large chunk of insect species are specialists, meaning they depend on certain plants for food and reproduction. When cities sprawl and suburbia creeps ever further out, native plants are most often replaced by non-native plants — fescue lawns and ornamental shrubs, trees, and flowers from other countries. The insects that rely on certain kinds of plants will disappear and the birds and other animals that relied on those insects for survival will also disappear. The book is amounting to some fascinating information about insects in the ecosystem and why a healthy insect population is so very important to a general diversity of life.

Bookman and I have a forsythia in our front yard. We love it’s yellow blooms in spring and it was one of the first things we planted when we bought our house 13 years ago. Based on what I have been learning from this book and other reading, Bookman and I have decided this spring will be the last for our forsythia. It is a nonnative plant, it provides no food or habitat for anything. In fact, I can’t even recall seeing any small birds even land on it. It takes up a nice sunny spot in the yard that we will instead fill in with prairie plants. I haven’t decided what yet, but that will be some future fun planning. I will wait and see what the plant sale catalog has on offer this year. And that plant sale catalog? Three more weeks until it becomes available. I can hardly wait!

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