Monday, 18 April 2011

Annual Spring Grouch

It is hard to imagine that you could design a more miserable day if you planned it. It is two degrees below the freezing mark and a mixture of cold rain and sleet pellets has been falling since mid-morning. It is gray, windy and dismal. The only thing missing is fog and I assume we will get that later. The YG's brainless but beautiful dog (we're dog-sitting again) abandoned her joyful outdoor existence and stomped into the house, dripping, was wiped down and is now sleeping in a heap on the floor in front of the wood stove. 

It's a good thing it's Saturday, as we get two weekend papers today, enough to keep us occupied all morning with a couple of naps thrown in.

It is now Monday, and the wet snow is still with us. More fell last night and is presently melting off the lawn, the temperature now having inched its way to just above freezing. I am not hanging the laundry outside - it would just sit there and collect more moisture. Instead I am working on meeting minutes and other delights and not checking the forecast. If there is more of this coming, I really do not want to know.

Great excitement in the bird world. What we think is a Sharp Shinned Hawk just landed on the bird feeder. Needless to say, there are no small feathered or furred creatures to be seen, not even a red squirrel. A few weeks ago we had a Barred Owl hang around the feeder for most of the day. Again, not a creature was to be seen, although we think the owl did catch a squirrel or chipmunk the day before and was back for a second try. I do have a photo of the owl - it didn't care a bit that I was out on the kitchen deck with my camera.

Other than the owl and some shots of my birthday flowers to send to the givers, I have not been photographing. It is soggy, monochromatic and uninspiring out there and dim, dusty and uninspiring in here. I am longing for the day I can open the windows, let in the sweet spring air and start cleaning windows and do other spring things. I want to get out my spring and summer clothes; I'm sick of brown corduroy and heavy sweaters. I want to be able to walk without gumboots thumping my shins. I want Spring. Now.

There are two disgruntled and very damp and unkempt robins out on the lawn. They started to sing last week, but have been quiet since Friday. I don't blame them one bit. If they did say anything, it would probably sound a lot like the whinging I have just done.

(Even the worms won't come up in this weather. I can't make the mud stay put at the nest site. My claws are cold. Cheep.)

Oh, well. This mucky weather won't last forever. My next rant will probably concern biting insects. Or I can just repost the one from last year.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Spring is Whooshing In

There is a mad April wind whirling around the yard, melting the snowbanks as I watch (and revealing lots of stuff I will have to police off the grass), whipping the trees to frenzy, drying the mud and the YD's dog's bed.  As the clouds race by the sun flickers, strengthens, pales to shadow and returns.  And here I am at the computer.  Still. Again.

About the dog bed?  We are dog sitting again.  The YD's dog is a sweet but contrary 'Doodle' mix, with a long, wavy white coat and a puzzled expression.  She moves from the inner city where there is no yard for her and all her expeditions are supervised walks to our acreage where she can go and do what she pleases.  What she pleases seems to encompass, mostly, staying outside. 

She refused to come in last night and so we put her bed and water out on the front porch for her.  The edge of the porch is mostly shielded by a big roof overhang, but last night the rain blew in and when I looked out this morning there was a wet dog, a wet bed and, to make everything perfect, evidence on her no-longer white sopping wet fur that she had stuck her head into the bottom of the incinerator.  She had the grace to look sheepish - wet sheepish at that.
Her majesty finally deigned to come back inside about noon and I am now letting her dry off before tackling her with a brush and carding comb to see how much mud I can remove.
Meanwhile, I have stuff done for my Thursday meeting, but not for two of the three I have scheduled for tomorrow.

Pause there while some dog brushing took place.  I got some of the muck off - I now think she may have rolled in something lovely and muddy, but there is definitely soot in there too.  Luckily she likes being brushed. The dog hair blows downwind as fast as I brush, and I envision some deliriously happy bird or small animal lining a nest with it in due course.

The lids all just blew off the trash containers downstairs.  This is a strong wind.  And, yes, it is a west wind.  The birds are not crying, however.  I suspect they are hanging on to branches with beak and claw, muttering to themselves.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Officially Out of Reading Matter

Last week I received Jean Auel's latest book,  a new book and new compendium of two older books by Elizabeth Moon, revised, and the latest in Cherryh's Foreigner series, all in one box.

Auel's stuff is repetitious, tediously didactic (but, sure, we all want to know Jondelar's techniques) and stiff.  It is now at the top of the best seller list: and my cleaner has borrowed it, saying she is a huge fan.
Elizabeth Moon can write!  I have read Surrender None and Liar's Oath before, but she has now tied the latter to the Paksennarion saga directly.  I also burned through the latest in that saga, The Kings of the North and then read it a second time, just for the language. 
Cherryh can write, too.  The Foreigner series is all to a formula, but she manages to keep your attention, even when you know the fire fight is due up next.
I also got Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons for Little Stuff.  Haven't reread that one, yet.  Eyes are a bit blurry, somehow.
I did manage to change the sheets and do a bit of yard work, but the rest of the work all has taken second place.  The downer is that now I have to wait at least another year for the conclusion of Moon's trilogy.
Best news of all - at least six yellow croci in the raised bed, three in bloom, three in bud.  And the snow is off the lily bed.  Over the next three days I think the last of the snow will melt.