Countdown to Spring!

This winter has been a bear. So much for global warming. I think all the recent snow is beautiful, but I am so glad we haven’t experienced a raging albino crapfest, as James Lileks dubbed such snowstorms on Twitter back in December. Our friends in Frederick, MD are buried after the week’s snowfall and much of the east coast is pretty much shut down.

I think the snow’s pretty, but I don’t want that much. Here’s what it looked like in my neck of the woods after the snowstorm we got last week. These were taken Saturday. Drifts came to above my knees when I walked over the hill in our back yard and took Stella for a walk in the snow. She loves the snow!

I love the pretty white snow, but I sure dread the mud that comes with its melt. That translates to twelve muddy dog feet, four times a day. There’s no way to avoid it, and it’s a mess. We keep a beach towel inside the back door, but that doesn’t get all of it. Sigh.

At any rate, I’m ready for spring. How about you? Howie pointed me toward a nifty little widget for my sidebar, a Countdown to Spring. I just added it. If you have a website, spread the cheer and add it. If you don’t, stop by here every so often and be encouraged that this winter won’t last forever.

2/14/2010: I just removed the countdown widget because it took so long to load and slowed down other widgets. No thanks!

God sent me balloons

windchimesarah-velcroToday was the first time this year Howie and I had breakfast together on the patio. The morning was chilly enough in the shade I wore my sweatpants and donned a fleece jacket, but I soon changed into shorts and ditched the extra layer. There’s a strong breeze this morning and the beautiful windchime Rebecca gave me is playing all kinds of melodies.

It’s not a good recording, but I have a short soundclip of them for you. Early some morning, before the crew fires up the heavy equipment,  I’ll have to record the chimes and the waterfall so you can hear what we listen to through our bedroom window at night.

lily-of-the-valleyThe outside construction’s in full swing at the nearby school now that the weather’s good, and theferns02 rumble of machinery is punctuated periodically with a loud BOOMS, presumably as stuff is dropped into an empty dump truck bed. Those booms are very loud, like claps of thunder, and Sarah’s in thunderstorm Velcro-Dog mode.

The lily of the valley is starting to bloom and the last of our hostas are poking up through the dense carpet of shosta-waterfallsweet woodruff. The ferns are also sending up fresh green fronds. I love how green everything is in the spring, effortless on my part. Summer brings with it the chore of watering the gardens in the heat, so spring is kind of a freebie as a gardener and sweet-woodruff-hostaI enjoy it!

The fish have gotten more active now that warmer weather is here. They especially like hanging around the waterfall at the end of the pond. Our yellow iris roots have gone crazy and spread out beyond the confines of their pot in the pond, but I leave them that way since the fish like the swim around in them. They also make a good spot for the fish to lay eggs, which I think they may already have done.

waterfall-fishfish-roots

So what does this have to do about balloons?

You thought I’d forgotten about those, didn’t you?

As Howie was getting his bike out of the shed and getting ready to ride to work, I noticed unfamiliar movement by the back corner of our house. This was Howie’s last glimpse of me as he left for work:

god-sent-balloons

Balloons! Three huge balloons, two black and one hot pink, anchored by a foil-wrapped weight and pink ribbons. When I saw this, I called out, “Hey, Howie! God sent me balloons today!”.  I prefer to think of it as a funny surprise from God. I wonder what the occasion is.