posts tagged with 'spring'

warm afternoons, chilly mornings

In the old days, apparently, people opened their windows at night even when the weather was cold, and then shut them when they got up ("old days" in this case meaning the middle of the 20th century). We learn this from Eloise, and also from The Saturdays. In this era of energy efficiency it doesn't seem like quite the thing, but aside from that the practice does have an appeal. We did it last night, and it was delightful!

It was beautifully warm yesterday during the day, and as soon as it gets at all summery our upstairs starts to feel a little stuffy. So we opened the windows in the afternoon, and when we were ready for bed it still didn't feel cold, so they stayed open. It didn't feel at all cold overnight, either, but that's because we have good covers, because when I got up I couldn't help but notice that it was barely above 50°F downstairs (for the record, it was a bit warmer upstairs). So I shut the windows and turned on the heat. I expect that the windows will be open again before too long. I guess we're just old fashioned that way!

missed opportunity

This is a tough time of year as an off-road cyclist. The sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing, and the world is returning to wonderful life—all things that make me want to get out and ride! Only all the trails, this time of year, are all mud (where they're not still snow, that is). So we have to wait for things to dry out. But the last few mornings have offered an alternate possibility: both last night and the night before the temperature was down into the teens, so if I could have gotten out before, say, nine or ten in the morning I could have ridden on the most delightful concrete-like surface (delightful unless I fell, I suppose...). Of course, there are other things in my life besides cycling, and those things—housework, my job, spending time with my family—kept me from hitting the trails while the conditions held. Good thing the days are getting longer... maybe next week I'll have time for all the things!

spring chickens

I don't feel completely confident assessing their mental state, but it might be that the creatures happiest about the warmer weather at our house are the chickens. Some chickens walk on snow; ours do not, so for the last month plus they've been confined to their coop and enclosed run (which I spiffed up with a snow-shedding roof last summer). But over the last two weeks the snowless expanse has been slowly growing towards their front door, and early this week they finally had a snow-free pathway out into the yard. They appear delighted with their freedom.

some of our chickens pecking at the ground

peck peck, peck peck, peck peck

They show their delight early every morning, which has been a *little annoying, since the way they show it is by making lots of noise before I'm necessarily ready to be getting out of bed. At least that's one good thing about the upcoming time change: Sunday morning they'll be making all that racket at 6:30 instead of 5:30! And I can't begrudge them the noise too much, because the extra sunlight means that egg production has ramped back up almost to summer levels. No more buying eggs for us until next winter! (or until we need to have a big brunch...).

eggs in a bowl on the back porch

one days' haul

My only concern is that we still haven't figured out how the hens and the dogs can share the yard. Right now they can't; the dogs will try and kill the hens if they're out together. So that's a little stressful. Something to work on this spring.

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picnic season

The best part of this time of year is eating outside. We like it so much we even push into days when it's maybe a little questionable. Yesterday it was warm and entirely delightful; today our lunch on the deck was somewhat aspirational. It was barely 50°F, after all. But the sun was hot! And we're so excited by the coming of spring. And when we eat outside we don't have to clear all the projects off the kitchen table!

the boys eating lunch at the picnic table with snow in the background

lunch

practicing for spring

There were some solid signs of spring at our house today. The snow is going fast—it's gone completely on the far corner of the yard—and this afternoon I shoveled off the bulkhead entrance to the basement. We need access for all the spring work that will be coming soon! More importantly, there was lots of outside playing. I've set the kids a goal of two hours a day outside in March, and that was easy for them to reach today. There was some tag, some imaginative play, and some baseball. In the picture below you see Zion in sweatshirt and long pants; he felt warm enough that not too long afterwards he was in shorts and short sleeves. I don't know if it was that hot, but it was certainly delightful to be out in the bright sunshine.

Harvey and Zion playing baseball in the street with snow on the lawns

spring training

To cap off the day I built a fire to grill hot dogs and black bean burgers for supper. Nobody was available to enjoy it with me as I was cooking, but after supper Zion, Elijah and I had a fine time around the embers toasting marshmallows for smores. Elijah was excited for what he felt like was his first smore in a year; I told him it was probably just a little over two months since his last one, but never mind, it was still special! I wouldn't say no to one more snowstorm and just a bit more sledding, but you know, I'm fine with spring too!

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the lion was late

Yesterday it was in the mid to upper 40s, with enough clouds and wet to make us at least consider whether this March 1st was doing the lion thing. Today when I woke up it was 10°, and let me tell you that a 35 degree swing in less than ten hours will produce some serious wind! Certainly, by the early hours of March 2nd the weather was properly leonine. We lost power briefly overnight, which woke Zion up—he needs his fan running in order to sleep. Or maybe it was the wind that woke him up and lack of fan that kept him from going back to sleep for a while; my sleep was certainly interrupted by the wind shaking the whole house. The wind kept up through the morning, and on our mid morning walk with Grandma I was ready to declare it the coldest day of the winter so far. But even as frigid as it felt, the March sun is strong, and while it was well below freezing all day I got too warm moving around outside mid afternoon. And at least on the edges the snow kept melting. The lion is here now, but that lamb is on its way!

May Day without fire

This morning we were talking about May Day traditions, which, besides the maypole dance also include the practice of jumping over a fire. "Why would anyone do that?!" Harvey wanted to know. But looking around he could see that me and Zion both had more nuanced views. When I said some people might think it was fun and exciting, Zion agreed heartily. I totally think he'd go for it. My thinking is that it's not actually that dangerous, assuming you're wearing shoes and good long pants—and who wouldn't be this time of year? If you do land a little short you'll hardly catch on fire at all, and as you roll around there'll be plenty of people around to help you beat out the flames. As for jumping to low and passing through the fire on your way over, that's so quick it seems like no danger at all. Luckily, this morning was very wet and rainy, so Zion and I were spared the temptation of actually trying it out.

Despite our lack of proper observance—we had neither fire nor ribbons and flowers—real May weather, sunny and warm, put in an appearance by mid afternoon. It was kind of magical. Happy May Day everyone!

vernal equinox, observed

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!

Zion and Lijah looking down a steep grassy slope in the woods

wide vistas

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.

Harvey and Zion crossing a stream on rocks

active explorers

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.

Zion roasting a marshmallow over our fire

vernal marshmallow

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!

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spring can really hang you up the most

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!

spring boating

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!

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