We are still all at home so here are some ideas.

Everyone is going outside and walking, and not only is it good exercise, it is a great way to look at things. If in the suburbs, I see what is happening with the houses. Are all the houses the same? Has some part been re-modeled? Does it have a porch? Has somebody mowed the lawn?

And when I walk around downtown Dayton, I look at the buildings. and I love looking at the old buildings that have fainted painted signs and old windows and old doors.

virginia bluebells
epenland / Flickr Creative Commons

Now at the beginning of Middle Spring, when pollen covers the pussy willows, then honeysuckle, mock orange, privet, wild multiflora roses, lilac, black raspberry and coralberry leaves break out from their buds, and that is a signal for cornus mas and lungwort to flower and for mourning cloak butterflies and cabbage moths to navigate the warming days past equinox. A little later come the question-mark and tortoise-shell butterflies and then the white-spotted skippers.

Most of you are like me, stuck at home. So all I can tell you are some things you can still do:

If you are going to be outside you can find a walking tour. Some examples are in Oakwood there’s a Self Guided Walking Tour.

There is this GPS My City and it connects to tours around the world including Dayton. The web site is: gpsmycity.com 

Cabbage butterfly
Jamie Davies / Flickr Creative Commons

As Early Spring comes to a close, then mourning cloak butterflies, the question marks, the tortoise shells and the cabbage butterflies come out, and when that happens, catfish are getting ready to feed in the  rivers, and goldfinches are turning gold.  The predawn chorus of birds begins near 6:00 a.m. 

Tejvan Pettinger / Flickr Creative Commons

So much has happened to prepare for equinox.

Red-winged blackbirds have joined the starlings and grackles. Killdeer and mockingbirds are calling, bluebirds singing. Robins begin their predawn chorus just after 7:00 a.m. Cardinals and doves are calling around 7:15. Later in the day, flickers and pileated woodpeckers call.  Honeybees will be flying then, and the first green-bottle flies.  Garter snakes will lie out sunning.

When I took inventory around the yard today, I saw verything had changed since my last accounting at the end of February:

Front Street Building

This evening is First Friday with all kind of events going on in downtown Dayton until 11p.m., and if you go to the Front Street Building on East Second Street, you can take a stroll through open studios, workshops, art galleries, and more. Visit with their artists, catch live demos, and experience the wide variety of art Dayton has to offer.

late winter dawn
Christian Collins / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the third week of early spring, but when it really comes to spring, the number of the week or even the weather doesn’t move you closer to spring so much as what you see and hear. It’s your experience that leads you out of winter.

The land sends up signs of color to guide you, first emerald green of fresh grass to catch the sun, then white of snowdrops and tiny-flowered bittercress and Lenten roses, the yellow of dandelions, the violet and gold of snow crocuses, sometimes deep purple of the larger crocuses and March irises.

Harriet Tubman: Straight Up: Outta the Underground is at Dayton Metro Library this weekend.

Set a classic children’s tale to Rossini’s sparkling music and what do you get? Cenerentola: Cinderella or Goodness Triumphant. Everyone needs a happy ending once in a while and its composer knew from the start that he had a winner on his hands. This is at the Schuster, tonight at 8pm.

Brooding hen with chicks
normanack / Flickr Creative Commons

Now it is possible that some listeners do not know about broody hens, and since this is clearly the month of the Broody Hen Moon, it may be helpful to discuss the subject here in the Almanack.

So anyway, what IS a broody hen. A broody person may be thoughtful and unhappy, moody and melancholy. But in Chicken World, Well, a broody hen is one that doesn’t want to give up her eggs. She wants them to hatch. That would seem reasonable, and if a rooster is about, and if the owner wants chicks, the broody hen can be a blessing.

Rene Rasmussen / Flickr Creative Commons

Instinctively summer is accepted as the normal condition of the earth,  writes naturalist, Edwin Way Teale.

Winter as the abnormal. Summer is ‘the way it should be.’ It is as though our minds subconsciously returned to some tropical beginning, some summer-filled Garden of Eden

I thought of these lines I drove back to Ohio from a brief trip to the Florida Keys this past month.