The lilacs have leaf buds, and hopefully will have flower buds as well. The mahonia has the start of buds. It will probably flower in a month or so. I didn't see snowdrop leaves poking up, but I saw lots of violet leaves, and other weeds, and a little patch of lemon balm leaves. Lemon balm is really very hardy, and one of my favorite herbs for the scent. I try to grow many herbs that have citrusy fragrances. Lemon balm is among the easiest, but I don't dislike it for being common, as some gardeners dislike certain plants for being too common.
There were deer tracks all over the yard. Perhaps two or three feet of the snow had melted, though some places I walked in the back yard still had at least a foot of snow. There were other tracks -- rabbit tracks, I think, and other kinds that were too melted to tell what they were, some little, some big, or perhaps a bunch of little tracks melted into a big track here and there. I saw what looked like pretty large paw tracks in a couple of places, and wondered if it had been the bobcat. Other tracks might have been those of a dog, perhaps. Some definitely looked largish, with paw pads. They're quite distinguishable from the hoof prints of deer.
The sweet bay magnolia has had the bark of its main trunk ripped off all around for a couple of feet, presumably eaten. I don't know if that part of the tree will survive. It's more of a shrub here in the North, so perhaps it will come back from the roots. It's got a couple of smaller trunks, and small shoots. Of course, the small shoots might be eaten as well.
The once-blooming Old Garden Roses in the side yard looked very good. The snow is melted right around them at this point, but they seem to have come through being buried in two or three feet of snow quite well. Some are hardy to Zone 3 or 4, so they're survivors.
Well, it was good for me to go out and get exercise, I'm sure. The muddy parts of the yard weren't bad, but walking in the deeper snow was very tiring. I didn't feel that my ankle wouldn't hold together, but I could feel the strain of walking in that depth of snow. I don't think I'll try walking in snow a foot deep or more again if I can help it.
It gives me hope that the winter will be over at some point, to see signs of life in the shrubs and certain perennial herbs. Winter is a hard time of year for me, but I do what I can to keep my spirits up.
I caught up on some e-mail. There are a few more I could catch up on, but I'm pretty good. I'm catching up on AWZ, and will write some recaps tonight.