posts tagged with 'spring'

springing

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!

daffodils emerging

promising

equal night

round sugar cookies half frosted with chocolate

half night, half day

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.

the boys cutting out sugar cookies at the kitchen table

cookie cutting

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.

Harvey and Zion playing in the play house

snow cakes and icicles for sale

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warm and fuzzy

baby leaves on the apple tree

growing

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.

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what to wear?

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...

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happy spring

Harvey walking in the snow in shorts and sandals

the spring look

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.

Lijah on his new birthday scooter

lookin like he knows what he's doing

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!

Lijah sleeping leaning forward in the stroller

zzz

Happy Spring, everyone.

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surprise reprise

Remember when it snowed back in March? That was delightful and exciting and it melted quick and we all had a laugh. Then in April we had another snowstorm. Two more, actually.

snow falling in the front yard and street

what month is it again?

That's the afternoon of the second storm. The first one was Sunday, when we woke up to heavy snow starting to fall; two inches accumulated in less that two hours, making for a pretty tricky drive to church. But then the sun came out and it all melted before mid afternoon. The second one, yesterday, wasn't as speedy—but it snowed pretty steadily all day and never got warm. So there was still plenty of snow around this morning. Just like winter!

snow on the street the morning after

the scene the next morning

In March the boys were excited for one last chance to romp in the snow, but apparently they meant last chance. We stayed inside all day Monday (we were also all a little sick). Maybe it's just the wrongness of snow in April that put us off.

daffodils smushed down by snow

poor daffodils

But today was bright and sunny—though wintery cold—and we managed to venture outside a bit.

the boys walking along the snowy bike path

pretty wintery

Even though it was barely above freezing all day, that April sun is strong. There's still snow hanging around, but nevertheless you don't have to look far to see that spring has some power behind it yet!

Zion walking in a mostly-thawed puddle

spring water wins

Happy first week of April!

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surprise!

Harvey walking on the edge of the woods through thickly falling snow

howdy, spring!

I suppose we could have expected that after a winter as strange as the one that just finished spring might have some surprises for us too, and so it proved. We woke up this morning to about four inches of snow, with more falling fast. No dismay here, though: we were all delighted!

Lijah led the charge outside; we could hardly restrain him until after breakfast. I suppose he didn't think he needed breakfast when there was all that snow to eat.

Lijah in his cute red hat eating snow

he's cool with snow by now

Zion was happy to let Harvey and me go for a walk with Rascal, and after a few minutes playing with Mama and Lijah he settled down to a quiet game with the trucks (picking right up where he left off Saturday playing in the dirt).

Zion playing with big toy trucks in the snow

move that snow

And of course, Rascal loves a snowy walk more than just about anything else.

Rascal in heavy falling snow, looking back at the camera

he's kind enough to wait for us

As soon as the snow stopped falling it started melting—or maybe even before. But there was enough that it's taking a little while, and there was still plenty for Lijah to snack on as we strolled through Concord this afternoon.

Lijah on the path to the library in Concord--sun shining, snow melting fast

enjoying it while it lasts

When wintery weather follows a nice warm stretch you worry some about the plants, but there's no call for alarm this season; this delightful surprise snow was just a momentary treat, but spring is seriously on the way.

purple crocuses poking through the snow

the flowers are winning

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spring cycling for Harvey

March 31 and there's still over a foot of snow across the street on our neighbor's lawn. This evening as I read to Harvey I had a sudden memory of once, some distant moment in the misty past, sleeping with the windows open as gentle spring breezes wafted the curtains and scented the air with their perfume. There are no gentle spring breezes yet; winter still has us pretty much in its grip.

That said, there was definitely some sun today, and some warm weather—and we took full advantage! We spent most of the day outside, playing in the yard, and in the street, and roaming further afield. A considerable distance of roaming, actually; counting it up afterwards I figure that Harvey rode his bike a little over six miles on outings today, not counting the innumerable times up and down our street.

Ever since got his training wheels off, a couple weeks ago, he's been pretty serious about his cycling. There was a little setback a couple days after his two-wheeler breakthrough, when a friend backed over his bike with her car and rendered it unrideable; but on the upside that led us to dig through the shed to find a replacement that ended up being a better fit for an increasingly confident rider. (His confidence also extends to not caring a bit that it's pink and Barbie-branded.) Consistent riding means his balance gets better and better, and his turns are now as nimble as mine—more so, even, with his shorter wheelbase. No more, playing bike chase, can I out-turn him to turn the hunted into the hunter.

As much as we enjoy games like that on our dead-end street, he sees me modeling cycling distances for transportation and wants to get in on the action. Sure, he wasn't enthusiastic about joining us on our family walk to Whole Foods this morning (once we got going, Leah said, "Isn't life nice when none of the adults have to work!"), but he did great once we got going. Then we joined our neighbors on a ride up to the library—but we didn't have time to go in, since we had to get home and take over the Lijah care when Leah went to do an errand. Well, that wouldn't do for my pair of library lovers, so we hooked up the trailer for Lijah and headed right back up the hill. So yeah, a little over six miles without a complaint.

Even though we're riding in mittens, getting out in the fresh air makes spring feel a little more real. And with all that good outdoor exercise, we fall asleep so quick we have less time to mind the closed windows!

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spring eating

the tip of an asparagus spear in the garden

springing up

It's spring, and there's things to eat outside. I always like it when the garden starts to produce edibles, since it helps to justify my hobby to the world. Two and a half pounds of asparagus so far, over the first three days of the harvest, and it's still as exciting as the first time lo these many years ago now. Asparagus is definitely one of the embodiments of spring, culinarily speaking, so it pairs well with that other symbol of the season, the egg.

poached egg, asparagus, and corn bread on a plate

the freshest

Something is going right when we can enjoy, as we did Saturday supper, eggs a few hours old and asparagus picked 20 minutes before it hits the plate. Plus leftover cornbread, but that doesn't signify anything.

And it's not just asparagus around here either. The woods are full of garlic mustard, a tiny bit of which I made into pesto on Friday (with almonds, cheap parmesan, and olive oil). And today's couscous (made to accompany more asparagus) was livened up with a generous handful of chopped spring onions.

The best thing about all these delicious ingredients is that I barely have to do any work for them. Sure the asparagus was a bit of work to set up, and I suppose I must have planted the first bunching onions at some point, but now the food just rolls in every spring with no added work from any of us besides bending down to pick it. Since there's plenty to do in the garden otherwise this time of year, some easy payback is very well appreciated.

Do you think we'll get tired of asparagus?

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spring in all its fatty glory!

I don't know when you think spring starts, meteorologically speaking or whatever. For me it only spring when the boys decide to open the backdoor and walk outside, all on their own, without accounting for coats or footwear.

boots or barefooted, depending on your okayness with chicken poop

Also, if it's warm enough to walk up to Bedford Farms for ice cream, then it's officially spring. Officially and deliciously spring. Today we made the trip for the first time this season.

it doesn't count unless you get it ALL OVER your face.

I'd been dreaming about this ice cream for several weeks now. You see, I've been counting calories a little obsessively. The last ten pounds to lose is the hardest, they say. And with roughly 3000 calories to a pound, that's thirty thousand calories I have to expend in excess of what I take in. I don't know if you know this, but expending more energy then you take in is unpleasant.

And yet, I've been holding out this first ice cream as a sort of beacon of hope. One day, I told myself every time I went to bed hungry, one day it will be first ice cream day. And THAT day will be a day WITHOUT DIETING.

And let me tell you. The best way to enjoy an ice cream frappe made with super premium coffee ice cream, chocolate fudge swirl and whole oreos all blended together? The best way to enjoy it is to NOT GET ENOUGH FOOD FOR THREE WEEKS. Then walk a mile to the ice cream store pushing a stroller and carrying a baby. Then order the drink you've been thinking about in the middle of the night for days on end.

Once you've done that, let the full fat concoction hit your tongue with its explosion of sugary goodness. In that moment you will know that there is a God in heaven. Nay, that heaven is here and now and comes with an extra-wide drinking straw.

The boys also enjoyed their ice cream. Harvey didn't get so messy and Elijah just slept the whole time, so I'll post another picture of Zion to symbolize the event. Middle child, you win the chocolate-covered cuteness contest for today.

Zion, with ice cream on his face, smiling while hugging a tree

the after-effects of ice cream

Happy spring!

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