It's amazing how a few sunny days changes my life. The computer is abandoned and I'm out in the garden, taking the chance to treat the roses and grapevines to their overdue pruning. I know the grapevines will be grateful because as I cut away the dead wood on every plant I discovered tiny ant nests. Each must be the offspring of the flying ant swarms in late autumn where queens, desperate for homes, settled on the gaps where the centres of the dead stems hollowed out as their cores shrank. From there they had chewed out nurseries to raise silvery white larva. If they would stick to the rotten sections I would be happy to leave them alone but they inevitably encroach into the living wood and that can be fatal.
The sun has brought out the bees too. Dozens of them buzz around the potted camellia sitting outside the family room all winter as it scatters its saucer sized blossoms in a carpet of rich pink and white. Jaz, who is allergic to bee stings, dices with death whenever she is let out. Fortunately she is not very good at catching them.
Tiny grey skinks sun themselves on the brick wall, some not much bigger than a matchstick, with scales like fine, delicate lace, and, along the back fence, the trees are packed with nesting honeyeaters and wattlebirds. The eggs and nestlings are very popular with the raucous ravens that squabble loudly in their home tree in the next street. They drop in for a snack far too often. I know they have to eat but I'd rather not see their predations. Jaz loathes them, having been cornered by one when she was a puppy. They are big birds, handsome in their glossy black, and quite capable of doing a little dog an injury. Although she no longer has to worry about that she has not forgiven them and throws herself at the door barking frantically until someone lets her out.
All the signs are there. Spring is just around the corner and we are enjoying the prelude.