Exploring The Last Green Valley: In May, it’s easy to see all things are possible
“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.“
Edwin Way Teale
It seems as if a switch turned on, or perhaps it was due to the night of soft rain, but the morning of April 14 I remarked to my wife how the lawn and back pasture suddenly seemed to be green. Oh, it had been green in spots, but that sun-lit morning the old dull brown blades of grass were slowly overtaken by new green shoots. Overnight they appeared as if rising up through the corpse of last year’s sod.
May is when lawnmowers are dragged out from sheds where they were stored six months ago. With a hope and a prayer, the mower’s human yanks on the cord, and yanks again, urging the internal combustion beast to life. With cuss words under breath, he or she keeps saying, “just one more pull and it will start, just one more…”
The color of May is green. The first weeks show hillsides with shades of soft pastels as the deciduous trees flower and unfurl new leaves. By month’s end the green hills will be a solid and similar hue but for the darker conifers.
Blackflies are back so it must be May. During one of the few warm days we had in April I was out doing yard cleanup and there were a few blackflies biting, but they are becoming more prolific in the warmer May weather. They have been around since the mid-Jurassic age – a mere 180 million years or so. The one and only one good thing about black flies is the lifespan of the biting adult is only 2-3 weeks – about the amount of time it takes for the red welts to heal.
This is the month when white-tailed deer shed their thick winter fur to be replaced with a splendid lustrous reddish coat – one of the most beautiful colors of summer. The fawns will be born in June when there is plenty of grass and new sprouting plants for the doe to feed. The new growth of shrubs and bushes provides perfect hiding cover for the newborns. I remember years ago my dog Sophie discovered a fawn hidden in the brush by the side of the trail. She sniffed it with curiosity and was not a danger to it. We left the fawn undisturbed, curled up motionless with ears back and eyes wide open waiting for the doe to return.
This month wild turkey hens lay their eggs on the ground in shallow scrapes. Each female will lay usually one egg per day that she’ll cover with leaves to keep it safe and hidden. She won’t begin incubating until about 12 or more eggs have been laid. In this way the eggs all hatch at approximately the same time with the poults up and ready to follow the hen soon after hatching.
If you’re looking for opportunities to get out and enjoy the month of May, then you’ll want to check out TLGV’s Spring Outdoors program and events. This is the second full month of the program and it’s kicking into high gear as we get deeper into the spring season. You can check the schedule by going to https://thelastgreenvalley.org, scrolling down the main page, clicking on the “Spring Outdoors” box then the “Download your free Spring Outdoors Calendar here” link.
The program goes until the Summer Solstice on June 21. You’ll find opportunities for mountain biking, talks, walks, hikes and paddles. Plenty of reasons to get outdoors this spring and enjoy all the reasons that make living in The Last Green Valley so special.
This month is also when community fairs and festivals gear up for the year. First Friday in Putnam has already kicked off and Willimantic’s Third Thursday begins its season May 16. These fun arts, food and music street festivals are not to be missed. Another fun event this month is the Killingly Spring Festival on Saturday at Davis Park in downtown Danielson. This day-long event includes a 5K road race, parade, yoga on Main Street, food, craft vendors, live bands and more. Check out their Facebook page for more information at https://www.facebook.com/KSPRINGFEST/.
For history buffs, the Leffingwell House Museum in Norwich has two interesting events on tap this month. On May 11, from 11 to 4 p.m., you’ll enjoy Life of Colonial Women, Presentation on Faith Trumbull Huntington, plus an antique hat display, colonial crafts and refreshments, and on May 18 there are three public paranormal investigation programs with Arrowhead Investigations and Crossing the Veil Paranormal Teams. The times are 6-7:30 p.m., 8-9:30 p.m. and 10-11:30 p.m.. For more information, visit their website at https://www.leffingwellhousemuseum.org/.
May has arrived and all things seem possible. I hope you’ll join me as we celebrate springtime here in The Last Green Valley. Together let us care for, enjoy, and pass on the boundless natural and cultural resources that make our region such a special place to live, work and play.
Bill Reid is chief ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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