posts tagged with 'spring'
We learned this evening that the equinox was actually a couple days ago; never mind, we celebrated it today. The 19th was rainy, anyway! Today was beautiful, if chilly, and a Saturday without much in the way of obligations gave us lots of time to welcome the summer half of the year in the proper fashion: by getting outside!
To make the day extra special we took a trip in the car—the first in eight days!—to Concord's Estabrook Woods, which we last visited just under a year ago. It was a great choice—despite a startling number of cars at the trailhead the woods are big enough that we barely saw anyone, and we spent two and a half lovely hours exploring a very steep hill, vernal pools and a real pond, a couple of streams—one with a spillway waterfall. The best part was the sunny spot we found by the pond for our picnic lunch. We haven't been feeling particularly cabin-fevery, but still it is nice to get out a bit.
There was lots of playing outside in the afternoon, then towards evening we built a fire. After it had done its part cooking our supper it transitioned into a (very small) bonfire to greet the spring and roast us some marshmallows. We burned the wreath that adorned the front of our house for three months; more because we needed kindling than for ceremonial purposes, but it still seemed nicely symbolic.
Of course, the coming of astronomical summer doesn't mean the weather automatically turns lovely. There's cold rain in the forecast for much of the coming week—and you know we're not getting out of the house to any indoor activities. So it's a good thing we got as much outsiding as we did today!
You know, it's actually kind of hard to tell what the weather's doing these days. It was rainy and cold this morning, then by lunchtime we were eating outside on the porch in the bright sunshine. By that point it was warm enough for Harvey to be in shorts and short sleeves, but the rest of us were still wearing our long underwear. At one point Lijah was barefoot but wearing mittens; then he took them off and left them out in the garden, where they must now be blowing around in the wild wind that came up late afternoon. Hooray for spring!
I love living in a four-season climate. It's just delightful to welcome each change—and few are more delightful than the beginning of warm weather in the spring. We had our first hint of it last week, and we grabbed it with both hands. Saturday was the warmest. It was great to see everyone outside: playing on playgrounds, walking, cycling. Us, we walk and ride bikes all year round, so when it gets hot that's not how we want to bust out. No, what we did Saturday morning was get out on the water!
I had smugly expected to be the only one hardy to want to be out on the river in March, but there were three other cars at the boat launch: three other people passionate about their boating. Not that all four of us Archibalds were equally passionate. Harvey and Zion would have been ok playing with friends on our street, and Lijah seems sometimes to wish boats were never invented. That's because he's too little to paddle, so he gets bored, and when he gets bored he gets hungry, and when we run out of food he gets angry... but then, that's true any time so we might as well deal with his moods while floating peacefully down the wide Concord River.
It's wider than usual too, after a wet winter. We didn't go far—there were friends to play with at home after all—but we did manage to explore the marshes beyond the river banks, which is a uniquely springtime experience. And we only got stuck once, on the branches of partially submerged bushes, and nobody had to swim to get us free. We also landed on what, last year, we dubbed Mosquito Island; this early is the perfect time to explore it, since we didn't see a single one of the eponymous beasties.
The whole trip wasn't much longer than an hour (and the rest of the day saw plenty of running and jumping and even water balloons) but it was a great first outing. Here's to lots more in the next few months!
We celebrated the equinox in the best of all possible ways today, by getting out into the newly springlike world on bicycles. The plan was to picnic by Fawn Lake, but the clayey mud on the path and Zion's flu-related shortness of breath stopped us before we made it that far. Never mind, we found a nice soccer field for our lunch, and running around (for short periods of time, interspersed with rests) suited our energy level better than hiking would have anyways. It was lovely to be outside.
Besides the outing, we also observed the day by taking down the paper snowflakes and baking equinox cookies, activities which are now traditional. We didn't make flowers to replace the snowflakes, though, unlike last year; instead our art time was taken up with illustrating adjectives. Not seasonal, but just as fun. Since friends came over in the afternoon and stayed for dinner we also didn't manage to follow through on my plan of building a bonfire and burning the snowflakes... maybe we can do that tomorrow.
Harvey said today he's tired of winter. Mainly it's because he wants to be able to stop wearing boots. It can't be too bad: he was barefoot for the bike ride back from the grocery store this morning. But I think there's still too much snow on the ground for his comfort when it comes to abandoning shoes altogether. Besides that, though, the weather has been charming. I love the late winter, and we took full advantage of it today. Besides our morning's shopping—for vegetables and trousers—we spent a good chunk of time in the middle of the day outside, then capped things off with a walk before supper.
The walk was Zion's favorite thing today: he had a great time stomping through the soft snow, sinking up to his knees and rolling down piles (all without putting his hands down, since he wasn't wearing mittens). Lijah reported enjoying watching Pokemon, but if he had thought about it he might have mentioned the delightful half hour he spent playing pirates with me in the yard while Harvey and Zion worked on improving one of the tree house platforms. We also cleared out the old raspberry canes. Spring is on the way.
This morning I was delighted to wake up soon after sunrise to the delightful sound of birds singing—a song I don't notice the lack of in the winter, but sure do notice when it returns in the spring! Despite some good March snowstorms spring is well on its way. Even as more snow fell yesterday morning, the snow on the ground was melting away; another inch or two has vanished already today. It's not warm outside, particularly—but warm enough to see us playing and working outside before lunch (I finished pruning and clearing out the raspberries). And the plants are all busy doing their thing!
It wasn't as big as our solstice blowout in December, but we did our part to observe the equinox today. Despite the snow in the forecast for tomorrow we took down our snowflakes from the window and replaced them with construction paper flowers, and we made the equinox cookies you see above. I wish I had recorded Lijah's excited explanation of the spring equinox, and how it relates to cookies half-covered with chocolate; he really got the idea, only he wished they were winter solstice cookies in order to have more chocolate.
With the coming of spring we're trying to get back into a little more focused schoolwork—unschooling kind of focused, which means that making cookies totally qualifies. I don't know about harvesting icicles and snow cakes to sell out of the playhouse, but they had fun with that. A fine way to welcome spring.
It got warm super fast this year. Not counting the false starts in February and early March, we went from cold and snowy at the beginning of April to too hot to live a little over a week later. So all the plants are in fast-forward—at least, the ones that didn't ruin their chances this year by starting off too early and getting frozen when the cold came back.
I'm always interested in the transition from winter to spring, as the green comes back. You notice it in the trees, as the bare sticks start to grow green and yellow fuzz before filling in with baby leaves—it's not just the color that changes, it's the shape of the skyline. The grass is more subtle, and more interesting to me. At one point the grass is grayish-yellow; later it's deep dark green. You can't see it happen. One year I want to do a photo project, and take a picture of our yard from the same angle every day so I can put the images together and finally see the greening in action. The only problem is I won't be able to know exactly when to start the project. When does the grass start greening? You never know until it's about done; that's when you finally notice anything's happening.
The grass is in a hurry too this year. It's definitely green now, and starting to grow. The chickens are loving it, and doing their best to keep it short. The improved diet shows up in their eggs, which are noticeably yellower of yolk than they were last month. Yup, we all love the warm and the green—and we appreciate it all the more for having missed it in the winter. I love having seasons.
Changing weather is hard—at least, when it comes to knowing what to wear to go outside. Switching gears as the seasons change is always tricky, and all the more so when we have summer days in February followed by near-blizzards in March. The boys pretty much gave up on winter gear the first time it got warm, and besides when it was actually snowing they barely wore their jackets all through the barely-double-digit middle of March. Lijah refused his coat entirely for the entire second half of the winter: when I convinced him to wear it to go out in the rain-snow mix on Friday it was the first time it's been off the hanger since early February (not counting all the times the boys knocked it down, of course).
The last couple of days have been warm enough that Harvey and Zion have been rocking shorts and t-shirts, at least by mid morning—the weather has caught up to their expectations. Still, it's that in-between time where they have trouble, for example, getting in the side door of the house: tucked against the north side it's still snowy far past any other part of the yard, and they're mostly not fans of snow on bare feet. Still, they'll do it, such is their commitment to feeling summery.
Me, I have the opposite problem. Once I start wearing my long underwear and wool cap in November or whenever, I have a hard time giving them up. It's been well established that I love the cold, but that doesn't mean I enjoy being cold—on the contrary, my enjoyment is predicated on being well-equipped to sit around outside without feeling any discomfort. So lots of layers. Now that it's spring it's probably time to pare down a bit, but as I say—it's hard. For one thing, our house is pretty chilly in the morning, and the inside of a pair of jeans isn't what I'd call cozy first thing! And then there's always the haunting notion that I might suffer a chill at any time: better safe than sorry.
Of course, when it hits 55° and I'm playing tag with the boys on the playground in my winter get-up I'm pretty sorry anyway! But at what point does the risk calculation swing conclusively towards worrying about overheating? I don't know... but I will say that, this afternoon, I traded my winter hat in for my High Mowing Seeds ball cap. That feels like a seasonal inflection point...
There was some debate in the neighborhood as to when spring officially begins, but it's got to be around here somewhere. Yesterday was a lovely early springish day: bitter cold at sunrise and barefoot-worthy by mid afternoon. So we spent some time outside.
We did some running and some scootering—Lijah working on his new birthday scooter for the first time!—and some wagon hay-rides, all together with a great crowd of friends. And then when the kids all got tired of running they brought ten thousand legos out onto the front porch to play with them in the sunshine. I should have taken a picture, but I was too busy talking about great picture books and home improvements with other homeschooling parents who Know What It's Like.
You know, it's funny. Lijah didn't get nearly as much exercise as the bigger guys—he can't keep up the scootering for long, and he was in the stroller for our walk rather than running back and forth like a spring-mad puppy—but he was the only one to actually fall asleep outside. I guess growing up so fast is hard work!
Happy Spring, everyone.