The little flower plants are growing well in the relative warmth of the hotbed and the high and low tunnels. The nights continue to dip below freezing, so I still tuck the seedlings in each evening with blankets of row cover and greenhouse plastic. A couple of days ago, I noticed a few nibbled snapdragons in some of my trays, and the next morning, even more. I set a tiny Havahart trap with some peanut butter to catch the culprit and hopefully put an end to further seedling damage (note the stubs of snaps in the corner of the tray below).
The next morning, I uncovered the hotbed and saw the trap's doors were shut, and this little one was inside. Not a mouse like I was expecting, but another rodent I didn't even know lived here! After brief internet and field guide research, I'm still not sure what sort of critter he is. Some kind of vole? A Southern bog lemming? I settled on mouse-bear. I waited a day to see if I might catch any of his pals to relocate with him (no one else ended up visiting the trap), and then took him to the edge of the woods a few miles away. Too bad we couldn't be friends, mouse-bear; you're really adorable.
Outside, the predominant color is still brown, but signs of spring are everywhere. The alder catkins are loosening up and showing pollen, narcissus and tulips are finally emerging from the ground, pond ice is melting, and the chickens are loving being able to scratch for worms again in the dirt.
I'm appreciating the chickens' surface tilling efforts in some early planting areas and am really looking forward to digging in the dirt soon myself!