“Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!”

“In the lane snow is glistening…” We got a dusting of snow last night. It is wet and heavy. I know this because I went out and made a snowball to throw at the spawn of Satan eating from the suet feeder. The snowball was the perfect heft for an accurate throw, and I hit the spawn dead on. It sort of jumped in surprise then took off on the deck rail down into the yard.

The sun has just appeared backed by a cloudy blue sky. The wind is dying down. The day is beginning to have possibilities. We didn’t go to the dump yesterday as it rained all day, but it looks as if today might just be the perfect dump day. Strange, I never imagined myself talking about the perfect dump day or any dump day for that matter. It seems I’ve turned into such an odd conversationalist.

The snow is dripping off the roof mimicking the sound of a rain storm. I can see small clumps of snow falling from the branches. I filled the bird feeders the other day so the birds are many and varied. My usual gold finches, chickadees, titmice and nut hatches are here as are house finches, woodpeckers and a sparrow of sorts I don’t know by name. I’m sure the doves are here as I did throw seed on the ground for them.

Getting ready for spring takes more time than getting ready for winter. The outside furniture has to be uncovered and cleaned. All the decorative items like the fountain, the painted tables and the tree candles have to be brought from the cellar. The three bins filled with summer I keep stored under the deck have to be emptied then filled with the furniture coverings. The pictures have to be hung on the house wall facing the deck. The gnome and the flamingo are last on the deck. They formally announce the beginning of summer.

In the front and on the side, the gardens need to be cleaned and the dirt overturned. Two branches too close to the house on the front pine tree have to come down. The lawn needs tending. When the weather is warm enough, flowers need to bought and planted to fill any empty spots. The annuals in the herb garden need replacing. The window boxes for the deck need to be repainted this year then filled with flowers and herbs. The small vegetable garden will only have tomatoes as they seem to grow best there.

In winter the furniture gets covered and all the gardens turn brown. The front yard gets its last cleaning. The dead flowers are cut. The deck is bare and abandoned. Only the feeders are left. It never takes long to ready the house and yard for winter. I always think it’s the saddest day, the day I have to admit fall has finished its course, the day the gnome and the flamingo come inside.

It is so easy to love spring.

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13 Comments on ““Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!””

  1. Richard Says:

    I can get behind that ‘snow is glistening’ stuff – it’s already up to 66° here and it’s gonna go higher – I hate when that happens, but if there’s a bright side, it means it won’t be long ’til I can get fresh heirloom tomatoes at Farmers Mkt … Cherokee Purple Heart, Dixie Gold, Carolia Gold, Brandywine, Bradley – all the ones y’ can’t get when it’s not warm (notice I didn’t say ‘cold’) …

    Trees still have their blossoms on, so I might as well get some images to work on while they’re there. Might wait for the intensity of the light to cut back a bit ’cos this is awfully intense for delicate stuff like blooms … 1800 hours should be a good time for pix.

    Youngest Grandson’s concert at Artfest was great. It’s amazing how good the kids sounded. Pitch, intonation, phrasing, etc … all were excellent. Yeah, every now ’n then there was a clinker, but overall the difference between the sound even as recently as two years ago and what I heard yesterday is tremendous. I thought this would be only his school’s band performing – I was wrong. This was a collection of the best players from all the schools in his district, which meant he had to be recommended as a participant by his instructor. Quite the nice event, and I’m glad I was there to hear the difference.

    After-concert time was spent at two places: Gus’ Fried Chicken (if you have one in your town, go there and eat some chicken) and Gibson’s Donuts, home of the Maple Bacon Donut and purchaser of the McKenzie’s Buttermilk Drops recipe from the Entringer Family of New Orleans once McKenzie’s closed its doors. The buttermilk drops are hardball-sized Globes of Joy with a great lemon-glaze icing … they’re also habit-forming.

    The Gus’ we visited wasn’t the main one in Collierville, so there was no fried catfish on the menu, but their chicken is every bit as good as the catfish (or is it vice-versa?), so it’s still win-win. The fried pickles and fried green tomatoes are excellent appetizers to munch on while waiting for the chicken to cook – it’s all prepared fresh, so it’s not ‘instant chicken’ like it is at so many other places.

    Wot’s all this, then? Outside furniture uncovered and cleaned? Decorative items brought from the cellar? Three bins full of summer? Say it ain’t so, Joe … that’s why my porch is bereft of all frippery save for two wind chimes and a couple of potted plants.

    I do miss my garden, tho’ … it’d be nice to grow my own ‘herbs fraiche’ to use when I cook. I may have to look into that. As for the trees ’n shrubs, the landscaping company worries about that stuff. My days of doing it have long since been put behind me.

    Since it’s warming up – whether or not that’s in keeping with my personal preference for ‘cold’ – here’s a bit of Bernward Koch’s ‘Bahia Dawn’ to establish a kinda-sorta ‘tropical’ mood …

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      We had about 5 or 6 changes in weather today. The one consistency was the cold. 41˚ is the highest it got.

      You are way ahead of us. Our tomatoes don’t appear until August. The trees haven’t buds yet, maybe in a few weeks though off Cape may have some now, but we down here are always behind. I call it the ocean effect.

      The schools here have a similar concert called All Cape. The music directors choose their best musicians at all levels. My neighbor was the music director at one of the Cape high schools. He loved All Cape and the music.

      We have neither Gus nor Gibson’s. I really like fried chicken so I’d be there. You won’t find fried pickles or fried tomatoes on any menus here. I have tasted them both and liked them. For some reason they just aren’t considered New England foods.

      It is a deck, not a porch, and it is huge. It is the entire length of the back of the house. One end has the patio table and chairs. The other end has what I call my living room furniture including an indoor-outdoor rug. The candles are lit at night, and they look lovely hanging from the tree branches. My deck is off the ground at second floor height. It is where I spend a good part of the summer. The grill gets used often. It is a big one near the back gate.

      Most of us have decks off the backs of our houses. All of us have furniture. Who’d want to sit on the wooden bottom of the deck?It would be like sitting on the floor of an empty room.

      I love going out to snip the herbs I need. You can’t get any fresher than that.

      The music is perfect for the deck and the moonlight.

      • Richard Says:

        Kat, the heirloom tomatoes won’t be on the produce vendor shelves until late May or early June – I’m just voicing anticipation of their return. If they’re available before that time, it means they’ve been brought up from Mexico and they’re not locally grown. There were quite a few vendors I didn’t buy from last year because their produce wasn’t local … the whole point of the Market is to buy what local farmers are growing and selling, right? If it’s from out of the country – or the state – that’s just resale, and I can do that at Wal-Mart or Kroger … hell, even Whole Foods or Fresh Market if I want to pay above-market-price for the same items … those places are for the ones operating under the premise of ‘Pretense, C’est Moi’ … I’m too cheap for those faux-toney places …

      • katry Says:

        Richard,
        I knew they would be coming later if they are locally grown. We have to be far more patient than you.

        I love the farmers’ markets that spring up all different days in different towns on the cape. I get to see all the local produce and usually walk away with a bagful.

  2. olof1 Says:

    Much the same weather here today as it was yesterday but it did start to drizzle some in the early evening. It was a really nice day and tomorrow will be much the same but with chanses of some sunlight in the moorning they say.

    I’m a lazy gardener so I just cut the old dead flowers and leave them in the flower beds, they will give back nutrition and fibers to my sandy soil which it desperately needs. I will however get rid of all the weed and grass that grows there now, the winter was so mild that they never stopped to grow.

    I must make my vegetable garden bigger this year or add a new one somewhere. My garden is for my dogs so I must find a place where they don’t play much. This year I’ll sow lots of poppy seeds and something called meadow flowers. I bought one variety called for bees and one called wild meadow flowers. I hope they’ll look nice.

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      The weather kept changing, and it got colder. We even had some snow showers. It wasn’t in any way a nice day! I did get to the dump during the best part of the day.

      My landscaper has his guys do whatever has to be done to the garden and the lawn. I pick out and buy the flowers and look for the places where they will be planted. I love shopping at the garden store.

      I’ll choose different kinds of tomatoes for the small garden and hope for the best.

      Have a great evening!!

  3. Bob Says:

    Today is the nicest day yet. The sky is clear blue with no wind and the temperature is in the mid 70s. By May it will be hot and rainy. May is the month we usually get the most rain in the form of thunderstorms. We are at the southwest end of tornado alley. The Gulf of Mexico provides an endless supply of moisture and the cold fronts driven southward by the subtropical jet provide the lifting action to create super cell thunderstorms. Oklahoma City is in the heart of the alley. By July the winds turn from the southwest and we get 100 degree plus temperatures from the Sonora desert in Northern Mexico. I don’t understand folks who buy expensive patio furniture here without a swimming pool in their yard. It’s either too cold or two hot for outdoor lounging except for a couple months a year in the Spring and Fall. The pool provides for relief from the heat when lounging outside in the summer time. I never wanted a pool in my yard due to the expense and effort keeping it clean and chemically balanced. Luckily, my condo association dues keep up the pool near my front door.

    Among the great inventions of the twentieth century is air conditioning. The economic growth of places like Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix would not have occurred without cold inside air. The same can be said for the UAE. Summer in Dubai makes Texas feel like spring.

    My college roommate’s father used to say that he would give up all modern convinces, circa 1965, except indoor plumbing. I would agree except I would add air conditioning and maybe the Internet.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      Today never had the same weather for more than a couple of hours. It just kept changing. The sun wasn’t here very long at all. April is a crazy month here.Today’s snow is a good example. It was only a dusting but it was still snow.

      We hit the mid-80’s in August and that is about as hot as it gets. My deck is wonderful in the summer. If there is a breeze, the deck gets it. I don’t think many people around here have patios. In my neighborhood, 6 of the 8 houses on the street have decks. I have my morning coffee and read my papers there every morning. Many afternoons I sit outside and read. The nights are lovely.

      I love having the air conditioning, but I usually don’t have to use it until August when the heat and the humidity get too much.

      I’ve lived in places without indoor plumbing, and I survived, but there wasn’t any winter so I might change my mind when if it were cold.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Snow? Oh dear! Finally spring here, 66°F this afternoon and quite sunny. Birds start to build nests and the already too many rabbits do what rabbits do in spring…
    Great music today!

    • Richard Says:

      Birgit, rabbits do in spring what rabbits do year-’round …

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      It’s poor man’s fertilizer when we get snow this time of year. My dad always used to say that, and I looked it up. He is right. Snow pus nutrients and other stuff I don’t remember into the soil.

      This is New England and Cape Cod when spring comes late.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    It snowed. Then it blowed. And it blowed tiny snow balls off every twig and branch and bush in sight. Lots of fun being outside with the dogs and dodging incoming.
    The sun came out and melted almost all of it. You’re right. It did sound like rain pouring down.
    Last trip outside with the dogs was just at sunset. A lovely orange red sunset. As Piki Dog was doing his thing in the bushes, a red tailed hawk sailed over the yard, its tail flashing bright red in the light from the sunset. It landed in the top of the neighbor’s pine tree and watched little Piki Dog for a long while. Finally, it flew off when its mate flew by.

    My outside furniture consists of the top step to the front porch, the retaining wall on the east side of the house, the second step down from the back door, and an overturned 10 gallon plastic bird food bucket next to the cellar door. Year round furniture. I think I got spring covered. 🙂

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Gracie and I went to the dump. It was freezing with the wind blowing across the tundra or at least that’s how it felt. None of their bins were open as they were all filled. I asked why and found out they had no electricity. That it had gone off all around but only the dump didn’t get it back. I checked when I got home. Yup, I had also lost mine but didn’t notice as I used the cable box for time.

      The sunset was lovely here as well. Gracie was already out and I joined her. That and the brief sun in the morning were the best parts of the day.

      Gracie’s vet visit cost me nearly $400 for her annual check up and her old dog check up with a variety of different blood tests. She is fine but now the cats have to go in one at a time. One of them is pooping and peeing on the front door mat. The vet said they need to be checked as this behavior has a reason, probably physical. Because they eat out of the same bowl, there isn’t a way to figure out which one. More vet bills!

      The deck is so big that even two sets of furniture (my dining and living rooms) leave plenty of room. In the summer the trees hide it from the neighbors. It is a great spot.

      Have a great evening!!


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