posts tagged with 'spring'

good morning to you too, hens

I like lots of things about this time of year—it might be my favorite, even. I love the spring flowers and the fuzzy green on the trees, and it's great working in the garden when it's all unlimited promise. And I'm enjoying the late light that's letting us read stories in the evening without turning on any lights. But on the other end, I could really to without the chickens' early wake-ups these days. If they could be relaxed about their morning it would be fine; I don't usually pay much attention to them in any case, so if they were just casually scratching around their run enjoying the first rosy blush of dawn in the sky, I wouldn't care a bit. Too often, though, they're so excited at the prospect of another beautiful day that they want to let the world know about it. And let me know that they want to get out into the yard! At least, that's how I interpret their frantic bawking at ten past five. It's a good thing they're giving us as many eggs as we can eat!

(Also, I see that last year I was complaining about their noise over a month sooner, so I guess we're catching a bit of a break this time around...)

you know winter's over when...

For the last couple months we've really enjoyed the ice on Freeman Pond at park day. Skating, exploring... even sailing! Last week it was barely a ghost of its former glory, but we still had a little bit of fun throwing rocks to break the thin skin of ice that still floated a few yards from shore. Well, today the ice was finally gone completely, and you know what that means!

Elijah and Zion wading deeply in Freeman Pond

that's what we do with water, right?!

Let me say that the water was in no way warm, nor, really, was the air: you see that Zion didn't take his shirt off, and Elijah was wearing long pants out there under the water. But open water and a beach is so exciting that it didn't take them long to progress from wading, to splashing each other, to dunking sweatshirts in and then putting them on. By then everyone was so wet that it would have been silly not to go in all the way! For those kids, anyway. Somehow all the adults, teenagers, and younger kids managed to resist the allure of the pond. This week, anyway: Spring's just getting started! Let's see what they get up to next week.


oops, it's spring!

With all the drama and excitement around Elijah's birthday, it totally escaped my mind that the equinox was coming until yesterday morning when I went to write the date on the chalkboard. 21st?! Hey, it's spring! I know that the printed calendar says that Sunday was the actual equinox, but never mind that: we celebrated it yesterday night with a big fire (fires are good for all astronomical events). We grilled hot dogs and seitan, and then after supper we made a bonfire with lots of greenery from the wreathes and other decorations, and some branches of the Christmas tree that the boys brought out of the woods. It was quite dramatic enough, but we wished we had someone to share it with, so this evening we invited some friends over for a reprise. This time we had smores. Harvey said it was the first smores of the year; I have my doubts, but I can't remember the last time exactly. Either way, there's sure to be lots more before long: it's spring now!

out in the sunshine

My favorite thing about this time of year is watching the kids walk on snow in their bare feet. Not that there's lots of snow left, but certainly pockets. And you know it's warm enough that they're having a hard time bothering with shoes. On Tuesday we went for a walk at October Farm and I'm not even sure if Elijah brought any. He reports that, even where there wasn't snow, the mud was pretty chilly. But the air was charmingly mild, so much so that he and Zion didn't even feel that they needed to keep their shirts on.

Zion and Elijah walking on snow shirtless, Elijah barefoot

enjoying the air

We brought a lunch, and the hardest part of the whole trip was waiting until almost 12:00 to eat it. Picnics are still so exciting! There was ice to try—not at all safe—and water to wade in—pretty cold—but most of all we just walked and talked and enjoyed the mild air. It was so lovely being outside that when we got back to the car we did a little tailgating to soak up as much early spring joy as we could.

the boys sitting on folding chairs in a dirt parking lot

good thing we brought the chairs!

Then on the way home we stopped for a minute at the boat launch to wade in the river. But only for a minute. The Concord is still cold!

the boys wading in the Concord River, being cold



all the weather

Every time it's gotten warm the last few weeks I ask the boys if they think we're going to get more snow, and they always say no. And they're always wrong. Wednesday close to two inches of snow fell on us in the couple hours we spent at the park, and Thursday morning we awoke to this beautiful wintery scene.

snow covering every twig of the trees out the back of our house at first light

well, it is still winter

But the snow didn't stick around. Thursday was warm—not hot, but plenty mild—and the March sun made short work of all the new snow except in patches of deep shade. Today was even warmer, at least until this evening when we were gathering outside with friends, with the kids sunbathing shirtless on the shed roof mid afternoon. You could almost see the daffodils growing as they started to push their way out of the ground. Of course, tomorrow is going to be another winter storm: mostly rain for us, but sleety rain into wet snow with a high in the low forties. Elijah's party has been postponed until next weekend. Yay for March in New England!


shrove pancakes

Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent. Lent is a church thing, of course, but the name means "spring", and as we move towards Easter we're also feeling more and more that spring is going to get here. We celebrated this evening with the traditional pancake supper: pancakes, sausages, and out-of-season berries. Such luxury! And there was even dessert for those that wanted it. Of course, now that it's snowy again actual signs of spring are more rare than they were at the beginning of last week when the kids were playing outside all day in bare feet. But this morning the first seedlings sprouted in our little nursery upstairs in the office, so whatever happens outside even our first week of Lent won't be without some new green life.

water power

Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere where it stayed cold enough all winter that the annual ice breakup in the spring was something people would pay attention to. But there are joys to be found in the crazy up-and-down temperatures of Massachusetts February too. Yesterday morning we took a walk in Lowell in the balmy springlike air, and it was delightfully strange to be wishing I had shorts on while looking down at the ice on the Pawtucket Canal. There was no ice on the Merrimack River, though: any pieces that haven't melted yet have to be all the way down to the Atlantic Ocean by now. There is some flow on that river!

the boys looking down at water roaring over a dam on the Merrimack River

spring tide

It was actually pretty scary standing on that catwalk watching the water roaring under our feet. We don't do a lot of things that would result in near-certain death in case of a slip, but this felt like one of them. I asked the kids how many gallons of water they thought were passing over the dam every second, but it wasn't really a fair question: how could we hope to make any sort of estimate?! (after some research this morning this site suggests it was in the neighborhood of 150,000 gallons per second).

In the afternoon the water at Freeman pond was powerful and dangerous in a different way. There was four to six feet of open water between the shore and the ice, sparkling in the sunshine and rippled with little waves that were well-nigh irresistible to lots of us there. But cold! Because it was ice water. So nobody did more than wading, unless you count the toddler who fell in completely. Harvey challenged all comers to see if anyone could stand in the water longer than him; nobody could, though two people battled him to a bitter (numb) draw. And Zion, Elijah, and a friend made their way on to the ice and ran around on it in their bare feet until I yelled at them to get off. Good times!

the boys wading in icy Freeman Pond

wade in the water

Now today it's back to winter and there's a winter storm warning in effect for tomorrow. Seven to twelve inches of snow forecast. That's fine: we get another day of sledding, and then it all turns into even more water. Spring is coming!


more outside that I can count

When we started our 1,000 Hours Outside challenge in January I kind of assumed that we'd have a tough start, but things would all get easier as the weather warmed up. Well, yesterday was pretty warm—positively spring-like—and we certainly spent plenty of time out of doors. The kids had on shorts, we ate lunch on the deck, there were bike races and basketball and tennis games (tennis with dodge balls is the best!). But how many hours did we log? I have no idea! See, when it's wintery cold we pretty much only went outside in discrete chunks, either for an adventure or to very deliberately play in the yard. The rest of the time we were inside recovering. Now I remember that, when it's warm enough to have the doors open—as they were for a couple hours in the middle of the day yesterday—we're constantly in and out. How should I keep track of that? I'm going to give us three hours for the day, but that's only the bare minimum: it could well have been four. I just can't say for sure. Oh well, those three keep our February average to an even two hours per day so far, so I think we're doing fine!

weather whiplash

It's been a strange winter, and never stranger than the last few days: from bitter cold to rain to sudden spring. That on top of the icy snow that let us sled and skate on the same field at the same time in not one but two different places! So as you can see I don't mean to complain—we've had tons of fun. And the fun continued today, despite the fact that just as we needed to spend an afternoon outside the mild spring weather of the past two days turned suddenly cold and extremely windy. I wasn't dressed for it! Even in the cold, though, the kids were happy to turn to some activities they haven't done in a while, like wading in the brook and playing baseball. I know that winter still has lots in store for us—and I don't even want it to end yet!—but the sound of running water and the mud under my feet wakened my spring senses enough that I finally put in my seed order. Let's have some more snow and some more delightful thaws and some more wild wind threatening to blow the house down (that's what we've got right now), and then lets have those seeds ready for spring! It's all my favorite.

kids playing baseball on some grass with snow in the foreground

as soon as there's grass

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!