Finding time for the outdoors amid a busy spring in Pennsylvania
Teaching all week, coaching soccer in the evenings and keeping up with family and home responsibilities on the weekends have dominated much of my calendar over the past two months. With grass needing to be mowed, new baby chicks in the brooder and flowers planted in the front bed, it’s clear that spring has fully arrived while everything on the to-do checklist has been competing for attention.
That said, it has been refreshing to enjoy nature’s transformation, albeit in sporadic doses.
We’ve enjoyed watching the birds make nests on our property. Robins have claimed prime locations in our crabapple tree and among the rafters of my woodshed. Bluebirds have been busy doctoring their boxes. A pair of Canada geese frequent the large pond in the hollow, and an enterprising house finch even made a nest in the wreath hanging on our front door.
Other new additions to the property include a grafted multi-variety apple tree that should self-pollinate, as well as several silky dogwoods and white spruce trees from the Game Commission’s Howard nursery to help enhance wildlife habitat. Pollinators are moving back in, as I spotted a ruby-throated hummingbird in my pasture, as well as several honeybees.
The few times I’ve taken my new Orvis 3-weight fly-rod out for a streamside stroll have been productive. I’ve been experimenting with Euro-nymphing techniques — that is using tungsten-weighted nymphs and a longer, thinner tactical leader designed to sink quickly and get to fish holding on the bottom. My catch rate has improved as a result, and it has been fun navigating the learning curve of casting the unwieldy rig.
The spring turkey woods have been frustrating as usual. I haven’t heard a gobble yet, but I did spot a hen and gobbler picking gravel 20-yards from my parked truck while walking back from my hunting location earlier this week. I also discovered fresh bear tracks and a skulk of rambunctious fox pups on separate outings, so the time afield wasn’t completely fruitless.
It pounded rain all day on Saturday when I had nothing planned but to hunt. The creeks were so blown out I couldn’t even fish, so I ran errands instead. The downtime allowed me to finally get new arrows made, visit my taxidermist to drop off the next mount, and pick up a tanned muskrat pelt from trapping season I’ve been meaning to go collect.
I suppose it’s all about making the most of the opportunities presented. With school soccer all wrapped up now, I’m hoping to hit the field a bit more and take full advantage of spring before it sneakily slips away to summer.