March is not beautiful (Unless you're in Colorado). Nor is March pleasant (This year is an exception.). But March is still awesome, even here in Ohio, and here's why:
Number one, it's the best time to find arrowheads. Walking aimlessly through tilled fields, staring at the ground, is something I've enjoyed all my life. Easily amused, I know...
The fields have been pounded by rain and snow all winter long, the rocks and flint chips exposed, and artifacts are just waiting there for the picking. Find a 'good field' (top secret!) on a warm sunny day in March and get out there. For us, it always involves jumping fences and crossing streams (trespassing) because the family farm is all no-till. Only conventional tillage turns the ground over so that arrowheads are exposed. Not the best farming practices in my opinion, but it sure makes for good 'head-huntin', as my brother calls it.
There is an old barn adjacent to to the field we were in yesterday, and in one of the walls is a feral bee colony. It has been there for years and I've caught multiple swarms ensuing from this wall. To see them alive and doing well in March was like visiting an old friend.
A few days previous, another gorgeous warm and sunny one, I made it to yet another favorite field. This time with my cousin Jed. What a day! Six points within an hour. Here they are in Jed's big hand:
If that wasn't exciting enough, I stumbled across something I've never found: a fossil trilobite! It was broken, but still really cool. Here it is on the right:
This is not just any trilobite, but a rare 440 million year old Isotelus trilobite: Ohio's state fossil! Betcha didn't know that. See how educational this blog is.
Jed didn't exactly share my excitement when I picked it up in the field, and later I talked about trilobites to my extended family, getting a few blank stares and a few interesting questions.
"Lemme see those arrowheads again..."
Another reason March is awesome: things are changing. The crocuses bloomed last week, the maples are in bloom now and the willows will soon follow; a warm, glowing yellow cloud streaming down on this little piece of paradise. One of the coolest things is to close your eyes and stand under a willow after it blooms. Sounds like you're in the middle of a beehive.
Here are some ladies hard at work yesterday. You can see the yellow pollen on the right.
When the weather gods look down favorably as they've been doing, March can be a wonderful time for colony build-up. The queen has geared up and the brood nest is expanding daily. Here's a good looking hive on March 9th:
These girls pigged out on the December feeding, the February feeding, and now they're ready for round 3 in March. These patties have a bit higher protein content. I'll be making splits (dividing some of these big colonies) the first week of April.
Things always look good in the sunshine. I have to remind myself of the date. Four years ago, early March, we drove Mason home from the hospital in a blizzard. It's a long time and a lot can happen between now and April. Even then, we're not in the clear.
The bees are looking great, but the weather could still smash us... like Maizy can smash a pinata.
I crrrush you! I crrrush you like a grrrape!
Cross your fingers and hope for the best...
So March, in its own way, is awesome. The arrowheads are out there, the willows and maples are 'abloom, I wear shorts for the morning run (sometimes), the sauger and crappie are biting at Deercreek... "the times they are a'changing", as Mr. Dylan would say.
And oh yeah, there's even some kind of basketball tournament going on. Borrrrring...