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CAROL'S CORNER - Current Observations for the month......February 2005
   
February is such a teaser month.  One day it's warm and sunny and the next it's snowing all day.
 
My bulbs are confused.  I see some tulip bulbs peeking their tips up through the wet soil, while the rest of the yard is still covered with snow.  And a weeping pussy willow tree in the front yard is full of white buds. I hope they have the hardiness to open, but I'm not optimistic.

Our average last frost in Missoula is not until May 27th and Hamilton is May 24th.  So we still have to be patient.  But as I walked outdoors to the back yard, I saw promise that spring is near.  A mother squirrel has already taken possession of the squirrel nesting house in our tree and she will be producing three to four baby squirrels within the next six weeks.  This will be our 11th generation of baby squirrels to use the house that Pete built.  One year we helped raise three babies when we found their mother dead in the box.  Only watchful diligence on our part and Pete's willingness to climb up a tall ladder to rescue the baby squirrels saved their lives.  We hand fed them goat's milk and apple for several weeks until they were ready to return to the outdoors; it still is one of our fondest memories.

Standing out in the sunny back yard and watching quietly reveals a lot of activity.  The finch and sparrows, who live in our bird brush pile all winter,  are choosing their bird houses already.  We feed them all year, of course, with a mixture of 1/2 black oil sunflower seed, 1/4 corn and 1/4 proso white millet.  They reward us with a lot of song and entertainment year around.  We also place a few suet cakes around the trees which are enjoyed by the woodpeckers.

And there is almost as much activity in my greenhouse.  It's sunny in my greenhouse today, even as the natural gas furnace is spewing out the heat at the rate of about a $1.00 a minute.  But I long for a free day just to spend inside the greenhouse in the bright sunshine.  The blooms of many geraniums cheer me, colors in pinks, fushia, reds, salmon and white thrill my senses.  Since I started many of the geranium cuttings in the fall, and fertilized them a couple weeks ago, they are now blooming like crazy.  I can't wait to see them blooming in my garden this summer.  Aw, but patience will reward me.

Alas, I found some purple blooming crocus in a big layered pot I planted last fall and put on the floor of the greenhouse where it would receive some chill, but not freeze.  What a joy!  And daffodils are popping up in another big pot.  Some Allium Alligator, which I didn't have time to put into the gardens last Fall, are getting big enough to bloom soon in their one gallon containers. I'm afraid they'll outgrow their containers soon, but  I can't wait to see what they look like.  Because I've forgotten what I ordered.

Azaleas, three of them in different pots, are all in vivid bloom.  One I transferred to the kitchen so I could enjoy it each day.  I also over-wintered some parrot plant from the pond in two big water-filled buckets. If anyone wants some for their pond, let me know in the spring and I'll be happy to share.

If this doesn't give you all spring fever, nothing will.