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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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Brief Spring (05/01/2013)
By Frances Edstrom
Briefly, we hail Spring. Little red buds adorn the trees, green shoots spring from the ground, the lawn is covered with sticks and branches from the last winter storm, and a mine field of dog doo has been revealed. My birdbath broke. I should have removed the bowl and leaned it against the stand as we usually do, but apparently that was John’s job. I notice the rug outside the sliding patio doors was left out all winter, as well. I should be making a list. Maybe I will. I can’t believe I ever complained that he didn’t do enough around the house. Now I’m seeing all the things he did do aren’t getting done!

I assumed that the birds would find food somewhere in the wild when things started sprouting, but they are eating more feeder seed than ever, since the snow birds have returned. During the last storm, which I hope is the LAST storm, when I filled the bird feeder outside the kitchen window, I had too much seed in the pitcher, so I just dumped it over the bannister to the ground below in front of the garage doors. When I looked out a bit later, there was a horde of crows devouring the sunflower seeds on the ground. I hadn’t seen them come so close to the house before. (The other word for a congregation of crows is “murder,” but I didn’t want to spoil the bucolic nature of my column.)

My crows seem to stay all winter. When there was still snow on the ground, they one day gathered en masse on the little knoll on the other side of my driveway, working mightily away on something. I have a feeling it may have been a dead baby possum or two that the mother had perhaps dumped away from her nest, which was under the tool shed. I’d rather have her there than the mother coyote, who had her pups under there a few years ago.

After the crows disappeared from the knoll, my dog, who is a horribly indiscriminate eater, noodled around at the spot for a long while. I expected it would lead to a bad experience on the living room carpet, but the crows must have taken the good stuff.

Last night, which was curiously humid, I heard the frogs beginning their mating calls in my back yard. They are particularly enamored of the area around the pool, which still has a cover on it, a big puddle in the middle of which is just nasty enough to appeal to a mother frog. She likes to sit either in the tree next to the patio or the shrubs by the pool to do her calling. I’m not sophisticated enough to identify how many suitors she has. But she is very enthusiastic in her domestic invitations.

Deer are out in force, trying to ingest enough calories to get those babies born and those antlers to grow. I noticed a lot of damage to bark on my trees this year. They certainly are not shy, and enjoy taunting my dog, whose role is apparently to slobber all over the picture windows while he is inside showing his muscle and they are outside leaving piles of scat on the lawn like so many spilled boxes of Milk Duds.

As I pondered the wildlife teeming around me, my thoughts wandered to our little friends the bugs. But I had to will myself to stop thinking about it, as mental images of swarming underground cities right at my home’s foundation gave me the willies.

I hope that mention of Spring will sustain you through the coming relapse of winter weather. We all know the summer sun is just over the horizon. Delayed gratification and all that.

Happy May Day birthday

Today is my middle child’s birthday. I was able to choose the day of her birth, not usual for those times. I thought that May Day would be a glorious day to be born, and I was right.

She may have been one of the last babies Dr. John Tweedy delivered. He was a good old fashioned doctor, one who was never flustered, never too busy, not against new-fangled ideas like fathers in the delivery room. I’m not sure what he’d think of video. And, he always turned up for the delivery. You knew you wouldn’t get his “service,” you’d get him.

Morgan was what is euphemistically called a “spirited” child. She certainly kept us on our toes. Never a dull moment, even now.

Her own second daughter, Andie, 4, is much like Morgan. A “pistol,” as my late father-in-law would say. The oldest girl, Peyton, 6, is much more of…well…an oldest child. Morgan was asking Peyton about U. S. presidents. She knew George Washington was the first, Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth, but faltered on the name of the current president. Andie piped up, “Elmo Helmington! No, wait, Elmo Hamilton!” Peyton was able to give us Barack Obama when we hinted with his initials. Pretty good for a six-year-old. Still, you have to admire the lively imagination that leads Andie to blurt out whatever floats into her mind.

It is wondrous to see these personality traits reproduced, especially for a grandmother. It’s like being able to watch a video of your past, but without the attendant distractions of those busy days.

Happy Birthday, Morgan. Thank you for being you and for having such delightful children yourself. 


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