Sunday, March 30, 2008

Crocuses and Aldo Leopold

I raked the wet and matted leaves from the flower bed yesterday and there they were. Tiny crocus flowers welcoming the sunlight and announcing spring. Fearless. Predictable. Comforting to see.

Aldo Leopold wrote: "One swallow does not make it summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring."

What are the signs of spring for you?

The Old Timer Says: "When you hear a flock of geese winging northward, look upward. See the grace and beauty, cooperation and respect. And recognize the faith these birds have in seasonal change."

Upcoming appearances:

Saturday, April 5, 1-3:00 p.m. Barnes & Noble, Appleton. Book signing: IN A PICKLE.

Tuesday, April 8, 7:30 p.m. Pinney Branch Library, Madison. Presentation and book signing: BREWERIES OF WISCONSIN

Saturday, April 12, 8:00 p.m. Borders West, Madison. Presentation and book signing: IN A PICKLE.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Robins and Snowstorms

Note from a blog reader. "Uncle Cliff (he is 92 years old) says it will snow three times on the robin after he comes back in the spring."

Uncle Cliff is probably right. Yesterday from 8-12 inches of snow fell on southern Wisconsin. Madison is but 1/2 inch away from 100 inches for the season. According to Uncle Cliff, we have two more to go. Hurry, hurry let it snow so May, June and the summer season can be snow free. And the robins can do what they do without inches of snow on their backs.

The Old Timer Says: "Enough, enough. Uncle, uncle. Or whatever will do the trick to turn off the snow machine."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tomatoes and St. Patrick

Every year, on St. Patrick's Day, my mother started tomato seeds in little pots that she placed in a sunny kitchen window. She had spent her spare moments pouring over the several seed catalogs that began arriving in our country mailbox already in January. She never consulted with my dad, or with anyone else as far as I could tell. She studied. She decided. And she planted. I don't remember a year that we didn't have a bumper crop of tomatoes.

The Old Timer says: "Think green. It might hurry spring along."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sandhill Cranes Are Back

I saw a pair of sandhill cranes today, standing in the middle of a small ice-covered pond. They were looking skyward and calling their prehistoric call. Every time I hear one it sends shivers down my back. What are they saying? I think I know.
"Spring oh spring where art thou. Why are we here before thee?" At least that's what I think they were saying.

The Old Timer Says: "I met a fellow the other day who talked nonstop and didn't say a thing."

Reminder:The hardcover edition of IN A PICKLE: A FAMILY FARM STORY is about sold out. Stop by your bookstore, or order on line--you can order directly from my website.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air. I can smell it. I can hear it. I heard a robin singing this morning--no worms yet for this early bird--but it's here, its feathers fluffed with the cold, its song clear and strong. And the striking red cardinals are whistling their hearts out, happy about the coming of spring.

The sound of spring I remember most is that of melt water trickling through a stone pile in a gully in the big field just north of our old farm house. On a snow melting day I'd mush my way out to the field, sometimes with my dad, sometimes alone, and just stand there, listening. It was a tinkling sound, like that of a breeze teasing a glass chandelier. Subtle but definite. A sure sign that spring was just around the corner, although we often couldn't yet see the corner.

The Old Timer says: "A long cold winter helps us appreciate so much more the other three seasons of the year."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

March Lions and Lambs

On the first day of March, at the country school I attended, the teacher brought out a corner curled and somewhat faded poster showing a a lion with snowflakes swirling around its head and a lamb, jumping about in a field of flowers. "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" the words on the poster proclaimed.

Let's keep that hope in our minds as we look out at six feet high snowbanks, icicles longer than your arm, and slippery walkways waiting for an unknowing visitor.

The Old Timer says: "Listen for the quiet, you'll be astounded at what you hear."