Another fine movie is coming up at the Whallonsburg Grange this Saturday night at 8. It's "The King's Speech," about a stuttering British monarch and his speech coach, and it won four Oscars at this year's Academy Awards. The Champlain Valley Film Society, the sponsors of this showing, continue to bring excellent films to our neck of the woods.

You may have noticed piles of soil on your lawn now that the snow is gone. These are created by voles or moles, two separate species that like to dig and live in burrows. Moles prefer to eat earthworms and other soil invertebrates, while voles are generally vegetarians with a fondness for plant roots and bulbs. Moles are gray and equipped with large paws for digging, while voles are brownish and closely resemble mice. I plant spinach every fall with the hopes of having it survive under mulch to produce a crop in the early spring, but this has been a futile exercise except for this year. Voles have been the culprits. I planted spinach in early September and covered it with a piece of fabric called a row cover. Row covers look like dryer sheets and admit light while providing some protection from the elements. It worked, because now I have a great crop of spinach with thick green leaves coming along.

I've returned to Reber, just back from a long trip. I drove home from Texas last weekend and got an excellent view of spring unfolding. Winter wheat is forming heads and corn is nearly knee high south of Dallas, but they need rain. The Mississippi River was full, and had flooded into low lands along its banks on the Arkansas side. From Tennessee all the way back to New York there's been too much rain, and no field work was going on. Dogwoods and redbuds were blooming and provided some color in the drab woods. There were lots of tornado and thunderstorm warnings in Kentucky and Ohio, but all I experienced was a deluge that washed the Texas dust off the car.

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