April 14, 2022
When Little Lake Valley gets significant rain in April or May (at least two or more inches), especially after having dry months of winter, I breathe a sigh of relief. The creeks fill up, the ground saturates, and we get some inundation in the north end of the valley. This is important for the wetland plants and animals. For example, Wood Ducks who have begun their nesting process, laying their eggs in boxes or tree cavities, need the inundation to get their ducklings safely into the creeks in mid to late May. The plants that sustain the adult ducks and the ducklings need that late moisture to grow robust and lush. The seeds that other birds and mammals depend on in the summer and fall need this late rain too. Even though I always love the rain, it does help to consider the obvious and not so obvious benefits of late rains.
A wet spring means we have a longer break from thinking about fires, drought, and excessive heat. If we do get the large amount of rain that is forecasted for this week and next, the valley may accumulate as much as 2 to 4 feet of water, a boost to the water table. The saying ‘April showers bring May flowers’ is true, and we will be seeing the abundance of wildflowers increase and the length of the blooming period extended by the rain that falls now.
Then there is the amplification of our environmental aesthetic and reveling in the beauty of springtime. That is a wonderful thing. In the upland mitigation parcel we call Plasma, there are two lovely woodlands nestled in the northwest corner. Walking through them in the pouring rain yesterday, my eyes feasted upon the wildflowers that grow in both the woodlands and the grassland pasture areas. Throughout the woodlands the Trillium albidum is spectacular, as it has been the last few years. It grows amongst Cow Parsnip, Heracleum maximum, and Meadow Rue, Thalictrum fendleri, and other spring wildflowers. The buttercups are plentiful in the pastures, but my favorite is the Yellowbeak Owl’s Clover, Triphysaria versicolor ssp. faucibarbata. There was a huge patch of it as I walked through the gate. The bright yellow and white of this wildflower is a wonder to behold. The deep and varied green colors are soothing and peaceful. We are fortunate to live in this valley where in the late winter and spring there are so many tones and shades of green.
Walking in the rain with an umbrella is a fun springtime activity which I recommend highly. Get out and notice the variety of green colored plants and look for some wildflowers too.