Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Spring!

How can I tell?

Ok, there are a few clues here and there. While it hasn't been warm enough yet for the crocus in the picture above, it shouldn't be too long before they arrive.

The first was last yesterday at noon. It was warm enough outside that we could put the canoes away in the barn without worrying about the glue freezing and turning bright white. This did not preclude us from having to go and put away one canoe today, however. (It was coated with epoxy which would have cured very, very slowly and been sticky to move yesterday.) Today was an even warmer day. Ahhh...

The second came last night. Ignominiously. My DW and I went to a 40th birthday party for a friend of ours which was hosted by his longtime girlfriend. We left the kids with a sitter and drove up to their house in the "hilltowns". They are off a main road in town, but have a dirt (ok, this is an optimistic description...) driveway. This time of the year in the hilltowns is known simply - and rather descriptively - as "mud season". The top 4-6" of ground are somewhere between a slurry and mud-pie. while the bits beneath are still frozen. I'd been to the house before, and knew that I could turn around at the bottom of the driveway. Seeing two trucks parked in the area, I thought it to be safe to drive there, but noooo... Stuck. Needed three people (Including the birthday boy!) to push the car out of the muck. My car was an incredible mess. I took it to a car wash to get the majority of the dirt off, but still had enough dirt left that I needed to wash it by hand. I removed so much dirt, I feel I should be paying my friend rent or something.

The third sign was this morning for a rite of spring. The whole family piled into the car and drove over to a local surgar shack. For those not aware of what a sugar shack is, it's simply a maple sugar evaporator - sometimes there is only the evaporator, but at this particular farm, they serve breakfasts and sell jams, jellies, perserves, baked goods and maple products from syrup to maple sugar. It was wonderful, although we saw more mud again this morning than we would have liked to.

One little update : On Saturday morning, I was scraping the frost off of my car to drive to class. I saw something small flash by out of the corner of my eye and go around the corner of the garage. Being suspicious of what it might be, I went over to the corner of the garage where there is a plastic splash block under the downspout. Lifting the splash block, I saw the source of footprints found earlier in the driveway :

While this isn't a picture of the bulgey-eyed field mouse that I saw, it might as well be. I looked at him and he looked at me for quite a while. When he seemed satisfied that I wasn't going to eat him, he sauntered off at a rather slow pace around the side of the garage to the next splash block. He's probably the only mouse in the neighborhood that hasn't taken up residence in my attic.

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