Hints of spring are in the air, though officially it arrives in another six weeks here in the Southern Hemisphere: yellow acacias blooms perfume the air, the cherry trees are donning their pink party dresses and birds are already checking nesting sites. We recently found a plump robin’s nest left from last year. I saved it for a while just for the pleasure of looking at it. Today I was about to toss it into the garbage when I thought: Wait a minute. Maybe the robins would like to recycle these perfectly preserved materials for building this year’s first nest. It would save a lot of scavenging. I placed the nest in the garden. If the robins aren't interested, it will make good compost
Jack Frost is still with us though. A few days ago we had a very cold rain. When it cleared, the Andes glowed brilliant in their fresh mantle of snow, and now rooftops in the mornings are white with frost.
At the supermarket, I gave into temptation. Weary of winter fruit, I bought some very pricy and delicious California grapes. Although a firm believer in buying locally, I have difficulty resisting California off-season fruit. Another time, I bought two peaches just for the exceptional pleasure of savoring their sweetness in the middle of winter.
The first bloom just appeared on the one California poppy I have in my garden. They winter over easily here and often bloom through the winter if in a sunny location. I’ll sow more poppy seeds soon, in hopes of having more luck than last year. The introduced poppies do best in wild, neglected terrain rather than a tended garden. Their preferred habitat in Chile is along railroad tracks.