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Look out your back window or door — describe what you see, as if you were trying to convey the scene to someone from another country or planet.

The sliding glass door downstairs looks out at a green lawn that rolls up a hill to a high point at the fence that separates our yard from the neighbor’s. With the right snow, this hill works well as a sledding run as it rolls gently down from the back of the acre to the lower point near the house.

The area used to be farmland, and some of the gentle hills you would see in a pasture still exist here. To punctuate the age of the land we live on, a 300 year maple tree sits beside our house, with a small piece of an iron farm tool enmeshed in the bark. Soldiers in the civil war camped out nearby because we live on a fairly high point in the area.

Since our long winter is only just ending, only a few yellow daffodils and meager forsythia add color to the landscape I’m looking at. Buds are finally forming on the trees to give them a haze of varying hues of greens, yellows and reds over their branches. While rain is predicted for much of the weekend, I know many plants and trees will be covered in blossoms and soft green leaves once the sun has been shining for a few days. They’re ready! The many azaleas, rhododendrons and fruit trees will rapidly change any day now. For us in Virginia, this is a very late spring.

I can also see the small vineyard (wine grapes) with canes still hanging onto their trellises, but they show no sign of life. They are about the last plants in the yard to come into leaf. I can also still see light at this time of the day, 7:30 pm, as a beautiful sun sets in the west.

I’ve seen very few animals yet — and hope not to see the groundhog — ever. He’s an insatiable beast and unattractive. The bunnies and chipmunks are cute, but we’re not fond of the rabbits that will appear soon, since they too can eat their weight in green plants each day. We have finally been able to keep out the many deer by running wire mesh along the cross rail fence, and by adding gates to the backyard from the unfenced front yard. They are just plain destructive in their tastes.

Only the bird are getting quite industrious, grabbing little bits of material from the yard to build their nests. We love our birds, and are actually grateful for the hawk that took up residence here last year. Hopefully he’s keeping the mice, shrews, and even snakes off our peaceful acre.