16 February 2011

How I know...

Yes, it is spring. Early spring, but not wintery any more. How do I know?

For one thing, the forsythia is starting to bloom.

Bulbs are coming up all around the house and yard.

These spring onions are starting to send up green leaves.

Cyclamens and snowdrops are producing
more and more flowers.

The willow stumps out by the pond are
sending out a profusion of yellow canes.

And finally, I had a severe allergy attack yesterday. A wet weather system moved in, bringing steady wind from the south. The south is where the pollen that sets off my allergies comes from. Today, skies are blue, the winds have calmed, and I'm already feeling a lot better.


  1. Ken, I think you might be allergic to Hazel, Birch or Alder pollen; the catkins are in full swing down here [south of you!]
    I'm allergic to Birch which is quite a common allergy apparently.

    The WV is 'unroies'.... quite appropriate for France.

  2. Hello Tim, we are surrounded by birch and alder here in Saint-Aignan — our local area is called La Rouère de l'Aulne, which means something like Alder Creek. But I only feel the pollen when the wind is blowing from the south. I know I'm allergic to cypress pollen, because that allergy has been diagnosed by a specialist, and I firmly believe that I am also allergic to the pollen of the genêt, Scotch broom.

  3. Most spring allergies, hay fever if you like, in southern Australia are caused by rye grass pollen, brought to the south by warm winds from the inland. Many South East Asian immigrants have terrible problems as they never had any exposure as children and are so are at the body's defence mechanism's mercy.

    I used to suffer, but I seemed to grow out of it.

  4. Our cyclamen flowered in the autumn--a glorious carpet of pink and white; so none now but snowdrops galore

  5. Maybe there's hope for us here in Virginia, for spring, that is. Lovely pictures.

  6. Look at the profusion of buds on that forsythia!!

    Hope you're feeling better, Ken.


  7. Cynthia,
    As a part-time Virginian myself, except for spring I don't see much hope for Virginia. Going back several centuries is not my idea of progress! LOL

  8. Thankfully, I don't have any real allergy problem. Of course, my sinuses more than take up the slack.

  9. Hello Andrew, yes, allergies evolve over time. Mine started with a vengeance in 1992, when I was in my early forties. Spring was a miserable season for me for 10 years. I finally got tested and found out I was allergic to cypress tree pollen. The allergist advised me to leave California and move to a place where there would be less cypress pollen. Here I am.

    Niall and Antoinette, we have the cyclamen varities that flowers in late winter and early spring. We have some autumn-blooming cyclamen that a friend gave us and we need to get them planted now.

    Cynthia and BettyAnn, thanks.

    Starman, I used to get sinus infections a lot, when I was younger. Not any more though. And the springtime allergies are much less intense here in France than they were in California.

    CHM, you probably remember the time we drove into an orange grove one spring out in the SoCal desert. I thought I wouldn't get out alive, because I was obviously so allergic to the orange blossom pollen.


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