The past two days have been beautiful. Spring is finally, really here--Bradford pears, tulip magnolias, redbud trees and yellow forsythias are in full bloom, it's quite warm midday, the sky is beautifully pink and lavender at sunset, and the bees and birds are out and busy. With all the nice weather, I got the urge to finally get our yard in shape. We were very slack last fall and winter about cleanup and everything looked sad and neglected.
So two whole days were spent raking, mowing, clipping hedges, pulling out dead morning glory vines, taming a wild grapevine that grows along the backyard fence, same with the confederate jasmine that threatens to overrun another section of the fence, removing tree branches that either obstructed the view when backing out of the driveway or were dead and ready to fall, and cleaning bird feeders and filling them with fresh seeds and suet. It's a pleasure to work outside on beautiful spring days, to get sweaty and tired from physical labor in the fresh air after a winter spent mostly indoors. I even got a bit of sun on my face, arms, and legs!
Yesterday around noon I was raking up clippings when a shadow passed over my head (the sun was directly above me and very bright). I looked up and it was a beautiful redtail hawk, gliding in slow lazy circles not more than 20 feet overhead. The sun shone through his reddish-brown tail feathers and his huge brown flight feathers. Gorgeous creature! He seemed to be checking me out, or (more likely) checking the nearby feeders for little birds and squirrels for lunch. Despite the fact that hawks prey on smaller animals, I still think they're beautiful, majestic animals and I enjoyed getting such a great view of one. And of course, all the smaller birds and squirrels were hidden away until he had moved on.
Another good thing working outdoors is that the dogs enjoy being nearby and keeping you company. They're always thrilled when someone is at home all day, and tagging along with us outdoors makes them both really happy. Their company makes ME happy! They like the spring weather, too.
And now our yard looks so much better. After a winter of neglect, two days of work made a world of difference. I'll bet our neighbors (most of whom keep immaculate lawns) don't know what to think. For once, our yard looks as good as most of theirs!