Last evening I went for a walk in the valley. The willow tree guarding the entrance is just now showing early leaves.
I haven't seen the valley since it was covered in snow, and it's strange how different places look familiar, and how I remember pathways differently without the covering.
The field looks different. There were deer hoof prints all around in the mud.
The violets were big.
The horsetail is coming up.
It is also know as Bottle-brush, Equisetum arvense, Horse Willow, Paddock Pipes, Pewterwort, Scouring rush, Shave grass, and Toadpipe.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), an herbal remedy dating back to at least ancient Roman and Greek medicine, was used traditionally to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems. The name Equisetum is derived from the Latin roots equus, meaning "horse," and seta, meaning "bristle."
Horsetail is a descendent of huge, tree-like plants that thrived 400 million years ago during the Paleozoic era. A close relative of the fern, horsetail is a non-flowering weed found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. The plant is a perennial (returns each year) with hollow stems and shoots that look like asparagus. As the plant dries, silica crystals that form in the stems and branches give the plant a scratching effect, thus accounting for its historic use in polishing metal, particularly pewter.
The flowering berry-like clusters appear to be buds.
These are catkins. They appear prior to the leaves, and are a mechanism to allow pollenization via the wind.
I think these are (sorry for the blurry pictures) Pilosella aurantiaca - variously known as Fox-and-cubs, Orange Hawkweed, Tawny Hawkweed, Devil's Paintbrush, and Grim-the-collier.
Large dock leaves are beginning to grow.