Willows and Signs of Spring

Posted by Sharkey

Even though it’s been a rather mild winter, Francesca and I are antsy for spring to arrive.  It’s still February, but if you look hard enough, there are signs of spring in many places around the farm.  The other day, I fired up the engine of the Kawasaki, I went and found Francesca paying a friendly visit with the Pomeranian geese, and then the two of us set off to find some of those signs.

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Ah, what a nice day for a drive around the farm.  However, it feels a bit brisk compared to all of the mild weather we've been having.  Now, where has Francesca gone and run off to?

1 Ah, what a nice day for a drive around the farm. However, it feels a bit brisk compared to all of the mild weather we've been having. Now, where has Francesca gone and run off to?

Here I am, Sharkey!  I was just paying a visit to our resident Pomeranian geese.  You know how much I like to bark at those honkers!  Where are you off to?  I'll drive, if you like.

2 Here I am, Sharkey! I was just paying a visit to our resident Pomeranian geese. You know how much I like to bark at those honkers! Where are you off to? I'll drive, if you like.

Thanks for taking the wheel, Franny.  I want to inspect this grove of weeping willows.  They begin to take on a golden glow when spring is approaching.

3 Thanks for taking the wheel, Franny. I want to inspect this grove of weeping willows. They begin to take on a golden glow when spring is approaching.

Drive a little further so we can get a better look.

4 Drive a little further so we can get a better look.

Weeping willows are considered to be harbingers of spring, due to the light color of the wood, how easily the branches sway in the gentle breeze, and how early the light green wispy leaves form.

5 Weeping willows are considered to be harbingers of spring, due to the light color of the wood, how easily the branches sway in the gentle breeze, and how early the light green wispy leaves form.

The Japanese have always prized the willow's delicate leaves and consider them to be the perfect match for the loveliness of their pink cherry blossoms in the spring.

6 The Japanese have always prized the willow's delicate leaves and consider them to be the perfect match for the loveliness of their pink cherry blossoms in the spring.

Franny, the weeping willow is in the Salix family and they form flowers, called catkins, which are produced in the early spring.  Do you know what else produces catkins?  Start driving!  Photo credit: http://blog.alientimes.org

7 Franny, the weeping willow is in the Salix family and they form flowers, called catkins, which are produced in the early spring. Do you know what else produces catkins? Start driving! Photo credit: http://blog.alientimes.org

Head on over to the wetlands.

8 Head on over to the wetlands.

Franny, as you know, the wetlands are down in that low area, and yes, there are a lot of critters in there.  However, it's also where Martha has planted a grove of pussy willows, also in the genus Salix.

9 Franny, as you know, the wetlands are down in that low area, and yes, there are a lot of critters in there. However, it's also where Martha has planted a grove of pussy willows, also in the genus Salix.

The catkins appear long before the leaves and before they come into full flower, the catkins are covered with a soft fur, just like our feline housemates!  And that's why they're called pussy willows.

10 The catkins appear long before the leaves and before they come into full flower, the catkins are covered with a soft fur, just like our feline housemates! And that's why they're called pussy willows.

I read on Martha's blog the other day that this variety is Salix chaenomeloides, commonly known as the giant pussy willow or the Japanese pussy willow.

11 I read on Martha's blog the other day that this variety is Salix chaenomeloides, commonly known as the giant pussy willow or the Japanese pussy willow.

Pussy willows, like weeping willows, produce a medical compound, called salicin, which is used to make over the counter pain relievers! Native Americans used the bark and roots as painkillers and anti-fever medicines!

12 Pussy willows, like weeping willows, produce a medical compound, called salicin, which is used to make over the counter pain relievers! Native Americans used the bark and roots as painkillers and anti-fever medicines!

Franny, here's another variety called Salix discolor.  This is also known as true pussy willow and it's the variety that most people are familiar with.

13 Franny, here's another variety called Salix discolor. This is also known as true pussy willow and it's the variety that most people are familiar with.

As with all willows, pussy willows require full-sun and lots of water to grow well, and that is why Martha chose the sunny wetlands for her grove.

14 As with all willows, pussy willows require full-sun and lots of water to grow well, and that is why Martha chose the sunny wetlands for her grove.

Wow, Sharkey!  I really appreciate your vast knowledge on the subject willows.  Didn't I hear that if you cut a branch and stick it in the ground, a new shrub will grow?  Amazing!

15 Wow, Sharkey! I really appreciate your vast knowledge on the subject willows. Didn't I hear that if you cut a branch and stick it in the ground, a new shrub will grow? Amazing!

Comments (13)

  • Hi Ladies,
    Nice ride around the grounds..the willow trees on the other side of the lake are getting brighter. I found a tulip poking through the dirt yesterday. Mimi said "don't pee on the tulip"...my aim was off anyway. I'm up really early today. I'll check in on everybody later. Enjoy the day!
    Your pal,
    Rebel

  • Good morning girls,
    I can't believe the mild winter we are having. Pretty soon all of Martha's plants will be blooming and it will be so colorful all over the farm. How did you enjoy your long weekend ladies?
    Ok, let's hear from all you Glue Squad members. Tell us all about your weekend, how you are feeling, if you got into trouble, ate anything you weren't supposed to, etc. I missed you guys.
    Love to all,
    Maddox

  • Good Morning F & S

    We have signs of spring showing up all over the yard too! I hope the snow stays away I'm ready for warm weather.

    Hey Glue Squad our friend Basil is going to need lots of prayers from all of us he has the "C" word. His mom emailed us over the weekend and the doctors said they got good margins so we are all happy about that. I'm sure he'll give you all a full report when he checks in. Mom told Lynn that Sophie's tumor was cancer and that they got good margins when they removed it so she should stay positive. Our boy is a fighter so I'm sure he'll be around with all of us for many more years.

    I had a great weekend spent 3 days with mom. Nicole came over on Sunday and spent the day but I was disappointed she didn't bring any barbie dolls.

    Well I'm going back to bed with Dad I need a nap.

    Zoe

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    Not much going on this weekend with me. With the springtime comes the loss of some of my inner fur. And as usual, I try to dig it out myself. Now you know what that means don’t you? Yep, the lamp shade is back. Brushing seems to help but I have to get into the action myself. The winter has been mild here so the flees are really bad. Every time I go out in the yard I pick up some. When they bite me, they die. But that doesn’t help the spot which itches so much I have to scratch it. Boy a long haired dog doesn’t stand a chance in the south. My Mommy has been spraying some sort of “stuff” on me when she brushes me. That helps a little but I am beginning to smell like a “medicine” cabinet. Basil, my paws are together for you. Hang in there buddy.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Great photos! The weeping willows are one of my favorite, we had a HUGE one on our Ranch in Missouri, it was the first to show signs of Spring to come...I also love pussy willows, they remind me of my childhood Easters in Germany. On Valentines Day I heard the first bird singing in the back yard and everyday there are more birds and different sounds. Kitty spends more time outside, she is waiting for the Chippies to come out of hiding...there also are feather remains of a Dove, eaten by a Hawk or Owl...so sad.

    F & S you girls are so lucky to live amongst so much beauty...

    Hi Basil, hope things are going well.

    delia & Kitty =^. .^=

  • Hello Ladies and Champion G.K.,
    I feel like I have been out of the loop on our blog for more than a week. So much has been going on. Girls, I am glad you are seeing signs of spring. In Colorado, we don't get too excited, because sure as we do, then a big frost comes and kills all the fruit blossoms or lilacs. I won't wish for spring too early. Anyway I am enjoying my time in front of the fireplace. Well, on the the not so good news. My doctor, Dr. Westfall, called Friday with the news that my pathology came back, and unfortunately, the tumor was cancer. He said only one other time in his career, has a false negative come on the tumor antigen test I had in January. But the good news guys is that he said we got it early with clean margins. I am cancer free at this time. They got things early---all the bad mojo is out and old Basil Boy is going to be around the Glue Squad for a lot longer. Those prayers and paws crossed never hurt a guy though. We all were very sad on the diagnosis, but then so many positives came with it---like they were meant to go in right away and get the bad mojo out, and they did. So Mom says we are just going to love each other and enjoy every moment to the fullest. Next Monday I get to try stairs and the ramps go bye bye. Hooray!!! She says she knows I am feeling more myself wanting to get up on things. I look, but that is all I can do for now. All bleeding has stopped and my "leaks" are getting less and less. I am the new and improvemed Basil Boy getting better by the minute. Dad is keeping the fire going all day and into the night so I can relax and keep warm in front of it. Mom and I are sleeping in front of it on the floor with lots of blankies and towels. I am so lucky to have a loving family and lots of Glue Squaders that care about me.Best get back to sleep. Oh, and one more thing---Mom and I can't go to my people sister's Academy Award Party, but we can still enter our ballet and win the pool. This is where you all come in. I haven't been able to watch the movies as usual so I need all of you to give me your opinions on who and what will win. Mom says if she and I win, it will to the Basil Fund.LOL!!! Going back to sleep and that fire.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • Hi Girl Friends &G.K., Sure missed seeing you girls yesterday and am so happy to see you again today riding around the farm in the Kawasaki! How fun it is to learn so much about willows, catkins, and pussy willows! I had no idea you could cut a pussy willow branch and stick it in the ground and it would grow! How fun! Maybe we will try that. too! Hope you had a nice birthday, Sharkey! Sure hope all our Glue Squaders had a great weekend, also! Hey Basil, hope you are doing really well and Cora Belle same for you!! Hey Zoe, hope your family is doing better-so sorry to hear about Sophie's cancer and my prayers are with her, also. Hey Kirby, so sorry you have fleas-I have been so lucky that I haven't had any since I moved here with my Mom. Hey Rebel and Maddox, we did have a pretty good weekend, especially on Sunday when it didn't rain and we got to go shopping! My favorite thing is riding in our pickup! Hope everyone has a great day again! Love, Dudley Do Right XOXOXO+

  • Weeping willows ladies looks like fun! Basil Boy you are one tough lil' hombre who's very loved, stay strong buddy! Kirby Bear I know it's hard but try not to scratch too much. Lampshades should be worn only at party time. :wink:

  • OMG Honkers and Donkers! :) Love it!

    I live in New Hampshire and I can say that I am really loving the mild Winter. I've been able to do neighborhood walks, which is usually quite rare in mid Winter.

    Oh oh I'm not sure the fur balls will be happy to find out they share a name with a flower! At least the pussy willows aren't aloof! :)

    gail

  • Yo..Basil, just keep resting, what a tough little dogger you are...I will continue my barking and acting naughty to the outdoor critters just for you.. I knew your mom would sleep next to you on the floor, that is what moms do! love my ramp, my vet says I am walking almost as good as new..seeing..no big deal..Lucinda helps me around and I've got my nose..so things are okay with me..raining here in the pacific northwest..we went down to Long Beach, and checked out the clam diggers...cars and people for as far as the eye could see..Lucinda and James don't dig any more so we just spied on people..I jumped (actually got lifted out) out and zipped (walked fast) around the sand..it is getting time for the glass floats to roll in...must go out and see what my feral cat buddies are up too, the I heard something about going for a mocha and pastry (maple bar i hope)..must think about who I want to win the academy awards..later, Cora-belle

  • We had rain here in Texas all weekend, but we really needed it, so my sweet Sophia and I napped most of the time! When we walked,her paws needed a good wipe! Stay strong Basil, we all love you! You're sure to win the pot if you go with The Artist!

  • Francesca, Sharkey & GK, esq.:

    Out here in California we already have tulips! I think the mild weather makes it harder to wait for true spring. I'm spending too much time reading about Old Roses and I want them all, but I have almost no space to plant them! I'm so jealous of your beautiful acerage but I know you two work hard to keep it happy.

    And I too send all the best to Basil!

  • The driving dog looks so cute!

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