Monday, May 5, 2008

The First Week

May 5, 2008
No getting around it, the first week is quite simply drudgery. Lots of hard work clearing a winter’s worth of leaves, and all the housekeeping that goes with bringing a place to life after a long winter’s sleep.

We went to power equipment with the first year on the island, and it does clear some of the drudgery. The blower can move most of the leaves to the holding area on the south side of the island, where, after the passage of three years, we find lots of rich topsoil to replace the oak, maple, and elm leaves. Still there is some old fashioned raking to be done around the hedges.

All is not grim, however, as there is a permanent sense of wonder at this ever changing place. Each year brings something new. This year, it was the absence of geese. We had a call from the DNR this winter, asking permission to come on the island to oil the goose eggs—as there has been a great overabundance of geese in the area. When we arrived—instead of the usual mounds of goose poop, we had a fairly pristine run of sea wall and island. No tip toeing!

We had some newcomers in their stead. Lots of yellow warblers to add their color to those of the goldfinches. Also, the first nesting pair of Orioles I’ve seen in many years.

A sidebar about goose birth control: Why oil the eggs—why not just take them? Because, in the absence of eggs, they will just lay more!