Category Archives: Seasons

Has It Sprung Yet?

Today’s post comes to us from our Ben!

The ducks have separated. We have 9 white ducks and four brown ducks that all hang out together. But last week, two browns and one white were off by themselves. It happens as the weather warms. A young ducks fancy turns too….?

And now that one white duck is totally by itself. At first, I thought maybe it had hurt its foot that it was sitting there all alone. But the next day it was toddling along just fine. Except alone. Occasionally I will get a couple mallards that we raised come back for a visit and maybe a pair or two will stay in the area, just not with all the other ducks. Sometimes we see them flying over and land in the swamp just over there. So home, but still independent like all good kids.

Also, the door on the chicken coop has been getting easier to open. It’s just a plain home-made wood door. In winter, presumably as the ground heaves with the frost, it gets harder to open as it drags on the ground. But the last week it’s started to open easier. Meaning the ground is settling again. And sometimes, the sliding doors on the North end of the shed will also get hard to open, again, because of the ground heaving. It helped that I shortened them a few inches. But when they open again, I know spring is coming.

I mentioned the other day I was ready to order baby chicks but the tank was buried in a snowdrift. Got that out. I’m thinking another sign of spring may be when the chick raising tank emerges from the snow.

What signs of spring have you seen?

Leaping Ahead

Happy Leap Day!  My cousin Duane was born on Leap Day. He got his picture in the Pipestone, MN newspaper when he was 4 because he finally had an actual birthday  to celebrate.

Starting in Ireland  centuries ago,  then spreading across Europe,  Leap Day was the day every four years when women could propose to men. In Scotland, the woman had to wear a red skirt when she proposed. There were penalties if the men refused. In some places, the man had to purchase twelve pairs of gloves for the woman. In Finland, he had to give her enough cloth to make a skirt. Currently  in France, La Bougie du Sapeur, a satirical magazine, only publishes on Leap Day.

I was fascinated to read that during 1930 and 1931, the Soviet  government added February 30th to the calendar and made all the other months have 30 days so that all the weeks of the year could have 5 days.  I don’t know why they dropped the plan.

How would like to see Leap Day celebrated? How would you change the calendar if you could?

Lift Thine Eyes To The Hills

There is a somewhat short butte four blocks east of my house. It is a city park. This outcropping of rocks, grass, and trees is as wide at the top as one football field, and as long as two football fields.  Poderosa pines cover the sides,  and is home to a large flock of vultures in the summer and fall. It is in the middle of a well established residential area . There are walking trails, a play ground,  and picnic areas on it.  It is an easy climb to get to.

The butte is fairly flat at the top, and on the western edge there is a water tower.  The water tower is shaped like a grain bin and is about three stories tall. It sits squat on the ground, and it is visible for blocks. It is visible from my house. I have seen it countless times over the past 30 years.  It has always been a blotchy, rusty,  silver color.

Imagine my surprise on Wednesday when I was driving past the park and I noticed that the water tower was now a delicate shade of baby pink. No one paints in the winter, so it must have been painted months ago, and I didn’t notice until now. I was shocked, not only that it was pink (what an odd color) but that it took me so long to notice something so close to me. It made me wonder what else I am not seeing.

What have you failed to see that was in plain sight? How are your powers of observation?

Burrowing

I’ve just had one of my favorite kinds of weekends. No social engagements, no particular errands, no particular chores. Started out with snowblowing early Saturday morning so that YA could get to work; although it’s technically a chore and it was cold, I had fun using my new snowblower (well, new to me anyway) even though it was a little hard to get it started the first time it was still dark and I had to kinda figure out by touch where the choke and throttle were. Did my Saturday morning chores (change sheets, water plants) and by then it was all of 7:30. So except for taking breaks to throw more laundry in and have meals, I spent the entire day in my studio! I’ve had a pile of stuff that I wanted to use up for a few weeks and I managed to get through it all.

Yesterday I had to snowblow out the bottom of my driveway again and when I lent the snowblower to my neighbor for a bit, I got to learn about cotter pins. Glad he broke it and not me – I would never have known what had happened and would probably have spent a lot of bucks having somebody diagnose and fix it. YA convinced me we should out for breakfast – The Lowbrow – her favorite breakfast spot. When we got home I made a big pot of broccoli cheese soup and then headed back to my studio. Overall I made 41 cards this weekend and got the studio spruced up as well.

My friend Pat calls this kind of behavior “burrowing” and I have to admit I did feel like I had hunkered down in my sweatpants and fat socks. I do enjoy my busier weekends as well, but it did feel rather nice to tune out the world for a couple of days.

What do you like to do when you’re “burrowing”?

Good Fortune

Fortune cookies, while a fun novelty, don’t always register for me. Most of the time that YA and I have Chinese food, it is at home, delivered by our favorite place, Fresh Wok.   YA loves cream cheese wontons, which I consider dessert; this combined with the fact that the fortune cookies are always at the bottom of the bag, they are usually overlooked until after we’re full.

I have some good friends who are moving this week, so this past weekend, I took Chinese take-out over to them so they would have one night when they didn’t have to cook. I decided to make it an early Chinese New Year party so brought lucky money envelopes, red paper plates/cups, the works.  When I was setting things out, the fortune cookies were actually on the top of the bag so I put them each of our place settings.

Here is what mine said:

“Because of your melodic nature, the moonlight never misses an appointment.”

Lovely, although in terms of it being a fortune, all I can figure is I’d better keep being melodic or the moonlight will miss an appointment?

What fortune would YOU like to crack open?

Going Forward in Life

I know from discussions on previous New Year’s Days that we are not a big resolution group. Around our house, New Year’s Day is traditionally the day we take down the tree, put away the ornaments and other decorations and generally straighten and clean up.  It feels like a fresh start after the big holiday season so it’s easy to understand how folks can spend time taking stock and deciding how they’d like to go forward in life.

No particular ways I’d like to go forward, although I will note that 2019 was an abysmal year for keeping up communications with the people in my life. Not sure why, it wasn’t more busy than usual, but in looking back I realize that I did more responding and less reaching out.  So maybe I’d like to change that.  If this is a resolution, then so be it.

If there are resolutions in my past that I managed to keep, I can’t remember. I assume that most of my former resolutions remained as resolutions and not life changes. This means I don’t have a game plan based on past experience for making a change.  I guess I’ll just have to wing it.

Have you had any spectacular resolution failures? Or success?