Spring Peonies
Spring has definitely arrived at White Plains in many different ways. The peonies have been beautiful again this year, even though there were not as many blooms. Each year, clearing trees and overgrowth from the fence lines has let a little more light in to the flower beds.

Although the peonies will probably have to be moved for next spring, they gave a few very nice blooms. With thinning and placement in the right light, they should do even better next year.

Clearing GuttersSpring Cleaning
And of course it’s time again for clearing out the gutters. With the numerous mature Elm, Ash, Magnolia, Linden, and other large tree varieties, a huge amount of leaves collect in the gutters every year. The only way is to climb the 35′ ladder to the top and clean them out by hand.

Thankfully, there are well-designed underground drains that transport water away from the historic masonry foundation. One of the next big projects will be working on the driveway to install a water drainage system that delivers all runoff to the creek at the bottom of the hill on the south end of the property. A job for a cooler day… and of course there is there is the 80 pound beaver to contend with!


Spring Fever
And finally those of you with a snake phobia, like me, should stop reading here! When the home  inspector came to the property in 2013, one of his recommendations was to have all the snakes removed – there were three milling around just on the day he came to inspect. Thankfully they were all black rat snakes, a harmless creature that can in fact help control the populations of poisonous snakes. As someone who has always been deathly afraid of any snake, it’s taken a lot of personal reflection and deep breathing for me to become more comfortable sharing my home with them. Although I prefer them to stay away from the immediate house yard, I’m also hoping they will keep the mole population down and away from my hasta!

Mating Black Rat SnakesBut nothing could prepare me for what I saw on this day last week. I walked confidently and obviously out toward the kitchen garden to pick some lettuce, when I almost walked upon my first snake of the season… but it was no ordinary snake. It’s two heads shot out of the grass and its multiple writhing tales confused me into a terrified stupor. Were there two? Were they fighting? Mating? Dancing to Katy Perry? It was so hard to tell. And then they came out of the taller grass and the scene spoke for itself. I’m including a picture to not only document this strange mating snake ritual but to signify a step in my own step recovery… you have no idea how close I had to get to truly capture the scene. If you really want a close-up, just click on the picture above.

And then suddenly, when I turned my back to put my camera down, they broke apart and ran in opposite directions. I only pray there won’t be 100 babies running around in a couple of months, but if there are, and the cats don’t get to them, hopefully they will help keep the real nasties away!

Welcome to Spring!

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