April Smiles ~ The Full Pink Moon
Rhubarb, the First Fruit of the Year

The First Bike Ride of the Year!


The weather was simply so fine today, we decided it was time for a family bike ride ~ the first one of the year!

This is a trail that runs behind our house. We are so excited that the town is grooming it into an official bike path! It leads through some beautiful "wilderness" ~ a meandering river, conservation woods, fields, streams and such.

Surprisingly, despite not having ridden my bike in over a year, I had no trouble getting back in the groove, so to speak. Unfortunately though, Crackerjack had a lot of trouble with grooves - and bumps and divots and pits - and the generally rough and muddy terrain.  He just could not ride his bike easily along here and he got very frustrated and sad ~ so he and I walked our bikes back home while Bill, Earlybird and Bookworm went ahead. I reminded him it won't be long before the pathway is paved, and then we will have no problem zipping along here!

To make the return trip a little more fun for my crestfallen (and cranky) fella, we took our time looking for interesting bits of nature. And of course, we took pictures as we walked. :)


Spring really has a knack for colors. She is one color-coordinated gal, I must say. Everything is so subdued and soft, ~ it's all blushes and buffs and the palest of spring greens ... before long everything will just be GREEN! It's good to appreciate the subtlety of this time of year.


Here's a quiet field we passed. I have never been back here in the summer, so I am looking forward to the next month or two when this area should be buzzing with life.


Here are some cattail seedheads along the riverbank. I hear-tell they are edible, but better left to the muskrats, I think ...


And here is a stretch of the riverbank. Do you see the nest at the left?

Here it is up close (or as close as we could get) ...


We think this handsome fellow was protecting the nest:


He let us get exceptionally close to him, and then flew off a-ways, seemingly injured. We watched him fly in short spurts, squawking at one point as if fighting with something. I've heard of other birds doing this (killdeer I think?) but never a robin. Of course we might have been reading too much into this situation - or perhaps he really was hurt!

Here is a bit of a creek, with swift water cascading downhill:


(We think this might be just the place to race bark boats this summer.)

Also by the river we found pussywillows in all stages of growth:


(I made a note of their location for next year's Palm Sunday!)

And here is some kind of young tree (or shrub) sporting a striking combination of yellow and green:


Those shades are right out of the Crayola Box! We have no idea what it is, but we'd like to find out. We'll keep an eye on it through the seasons to see if it becomes more readily identifiable.

Here's a wider and quieter stretch of the river ...


And an old stone wall we found in the woods ...


Speaking of stone walls, have you ever read Stone Wall Secrets? Oh, that's a good one. I have the teacher's guide to go with it, too. I think we'll do something with stone walls (which ramble all over New England), and rocks in general, this fall. (A geology walk would make a fantastic Nature Club meeting, I think.)

We spied this interesting tree:


Most definitely a nest of some kind. But whose? Owl? Squirrels? Wood ducks?

And how about this tree (or portion of one)?


Crackerjack and I thought this looked rather like a hand reaching out of the hill!

I'm happy to report, by the time we got back home, Crackerjack was in a much better mood. While he soaked in a warm bath, I started lunch and then before long it was off to soccer for the boys. Now here I am getting things done around the house (sort of) while they're out. And speaking of, I'd best get going because I have a whole pound of rhubarb in the fridge and I plan to turn it into a crumble before day's end. :)

Well, it might not have gone exactly as planned, but today's jaunt was good fun in the end. You know, I've had a little idea for the boys' summer, something I've been tossing around in my mind ... and spending all this time exploring our woods this morning has really firmed things up for me. I will tell you all about it before long ~ I just have a few more details to iron out before I do. :)

I hope your weekend's been happy. See you all again sometime soon!