Alan's got the right idea, having a list of rainy day projects ready to go. The past few days have been too wet to get much fieldwork done, but the warming trend continues and everything is growing fast now. The concept of "rain" and "warm" had escaped me after 22 years in the PNW, but now I remember and it's very pleasant, so long as one isn't working so hard as to raise a sweat.
The current rainy day project is a pair of picnic tables. This is the prototype, and looking out the barn door:
Bunny parties are a common occurrence at twilight, when we sometimes see four or five at a time. But a few days ago an extraordinary sight – six or eight of the creatures together in some kind of ecstatic dance party. They raced around in pairs or all together, circles and figures of eight, in and out of the frame of the living room window, surprising one another, then all pausing for a breath before starting up again.
Otto the muskrat has been busy collecting little branches of new leaves and hauling them back to his/her den. We've not seen a mate, but it appears some important preparation is underway. Unfortunately, Otto lives in the dam embankment, and s/he is a suspect in the mystery of the lower water level, so we're considering eviction.
An ermine (or stout) has made a home on the shore of the pond across from the house, dark red with black at the end of its tail, though apparently they turn pure white in the winter. A couple days ago I saw it make a long traverse with a rat-like thing in its mouth. We're grateful it's not a larger member of the weasel family such as a fisher, as they can really devastate small wildlife.
It's too slick out to use the tractor, or to cultivate the vegetable garden, but I spent a little time yesterday beginning to develop a little spring in the NW field, seeing where the water is actually emerging and if it's sufficient to make a watering station better than the muddy puddle the deer have made. In the afternoon I spent a couple hours with a spade on thistle patrol, and destroyed several hundred. They seem to be almost exclusively in the mowed areas, creating incentive to reduce the scope of mowing, which is quite substantial at present.