Tag Archiv: spring

Current ailments

photo compliments of morguefile.com

photo compliments of morguefile.com

In addition to severe hearing loss, my children no longer have interest in or aptitude for school, music practice, chores, responsibilities, basic personal hygiene, or conversation about any of the aforementioned.

Girl two has been the egg collector for ages. She has two modes right now.

#1. Going out to get the eggs after wailing, tears, and stomping (I see her veering towards the Charismatics when she’s older). On the way, she sees a sibling, a bird, or a bug, and forgets why she went outside. If you can find her after that and lead her to the door of the coop, she sometimes remembers to get the eggs.

#2. She wails, stomps, dries her eyes and heads to the coop. She returns a few minutes later with at least one broken egg, sometimes more. She cries and says she just isn’t good at getting the eggs. She suggests that perhaps it would be best for the sake of the eggs if another more skilled child were assigned the job of egg collection. She is shocked at suggestions of intentional egg breakage.

Boy two and Girl one are reading like there’s no tomorrow. A friend couldn’t quite get how I could be getting my son in trouble for reading. I’m not sure what there is to explain. Both of them hide (closets, bathrooms, small spaces) to read. Both expect that a good page trumps coming to dinner or responding to verbal commands. I have endless conversations with people who only appear to be in the room with me. I yell their names a foot from them, sometimes twice before they realize I am speaking. Boy two speaks (and works) primarily on Saturday morning because I’ve taken to using an after lunch library trip as a way to his heart. It’s a mixed blessing. I get to hear his voice for a few hours. Then he wants nothing to do with food, life, or people for the rest of the day. I am planning to call a no reading zone for a day or two this summer just so I can remember what it was like to have kids who talk to me about their thoughts when they came in from outside.

Boy one continues his preparations for law school. By my estimation, he will soon be ready to take on, if not the world, at least the ruling communist party in China or the mafia. I do my best to be a good training ground. An analysis of his time would look somewhat like this: Homework: 3-5%, Responsibilities: 5-7%, Recreation (soccer, music): 15% Verbal exercises (philosophizing, debating, honing socialization skills on the phone): 75%.

The lack of focus around here is maddeningly contagious. I myself have not had clear consecutive thoughts for days now.  When I can remember what the issue is, I ponder important questions slowly. Like is there a cure for spring fever? If so, what does it taste like and where do you buy it?

Sighting Spring

Trillium (the white flowers in the back ground) are the provincial flower of Ontario.

Trillium (the white flowers in the back ground and the provincial flower of Ontario) are in bloom.

Trillium flowers are brief spring visitors.

Trillium are very brief spring visitors.

Not as common as the white trillium but found in our very own woods. Unlike the white trillium which has no other interesting names, the red ones are also called: American True-Love, Birthroot, Bumblebee Root, Ill-scented Wake-robin, Indian Shamrock, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin, Stinking Willie, Threeleaf Nightshade,  and Wake-robin.

Not as common as the white trillium but found in our very own woods. Unlike the white trillium (which has no other interesting names) the red ones are also called: American True-Love, Birthroot, Bumblebee Root, Ill-scented Wake-robin, Indian Shamrock, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin, Stinking Willie, Threeleaf Nightshade, and Wake-robin.   How could I not feel lucky to have these on our property?

Since we got the bees, I have a whole new love for dandelions.

Since we got the bees, I have a whole new love for dandelions.

The only thing missing here is the music. That grand cacophony of song the birds do to say the whole world is rejoicing that it's spring.

The only thing missing here is the music. That grand cacophony of song the birds do to say the whole world is rejoicing that it’s spring.

I got a picture of this one, turned around and . . .

I got a picture of this one, turned around and . . .

there was this guy, just landing on the pond.

there was this guy, just landing on the pond.

 

Happy Spring!

The buzz of the impractical

DSCN1113

 

To our great satisfaction, our bees remain alive. Hive #2 is vibrant and buzzing madly. Hive #1 (which we worried about due to our human error) is not nearly as vibrant as the other, but it is alive. Buoyed by these wild achievements,  :)  we are with trepidation and a little excitement expanding our partnership. A friend is getting out of the bee business. Weather permitting, we are picking up two more hives over the weekend. Or should we get three? We can’t decide.

A brief list of the things I know:

  1. We don’t know very much about bees.
  2. We might not have what it takes to stick with it. Continued investment into something which has yet to produce a jar of actual honey is questionable.
  3. Bees are the only place where Boy one and I meet as two people who can’t do it without the other person’s help. In the rest of life, he’s struggling to find his feet in ways that don’t require stomping on other people’s heads. With the bees, it isn’t like that. I read, ask questions, try to figure out what we aren’t thinking of that we should be. (My most remarkable ability is that I can do something at an undesirable time because it needs to be done.) I am also ten times as afraid of the bees as he is. This is not a secret, but he never mentions it. I don’t tell him he has to do all the things that make me scared, he does them without me saying anything. 80% of the physical work on the hive is done by him. 100% is done by him until I observe that the bees are calm and work myself up to an approach. This doesn’t bother him.
  4. Boy one never self selects to do the next thing on the bee list. But when a teacher asked his class to fill out descriptors of themselves, he wrote down: trombone player, soccer player, beekeeper.Boy one is a mirror image of my quick, sarcastic, best defense is a good offense, approach to interpersonal conflict. In the winter I proposed a contest. We put a chart on the fridge. A point if you could respond to harsh words with a gentle reply (actual unfairness not required, just the perception of harsh). Boy one loved it. (When he started losing he found a ball and bounced it behind me one day for five minutes waiting for me to snap so he could come back with a gentle reply.) We kept at it for a weeks, awarding points to each other with grace. The whole thing reminds me of the bees. Where losing could still be winning.
  5. At the hives we’re not young man and a forty-two year old privileges/duties dispenser. We’re two people trying to figure out the art of bee keeping. One of us understands that it will probably prove beyond us. The other is a non-cheque writing optimist, with no concept that failure is standard practice for more than half of life’s experiments.
  6. What we are doing is not practical: but there might be more to it than honey.

 

 

 

On Mud

IMG_2758

Winter doesn’t melt to green here, it melts to mud and lots of it. The creeks are high. Every low spot in every yard we pass is a temporary pond. It isn’t as pretty as the springs of my childhood. (Those were smorgasbords of colour and life, flowers falling over themselves to burst forth.) Here it is a smattering of hardy souls determined to see the light. The rest is newly thawed mud. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nuances of brown with hints of grey and light green are home now.

Easter Sunday was cool, 13 C/55 F but apparently warm enough. After a day of feasting and celebration, we walked outside to find shirtless boys, and girls in shorts and tank tops. The sprinkler was set up on the edge of the pasture. It was 1/5 for sprinkling people and 4/5 for making more mud. Mud generously rubbed on chests, legs, and cheeks, sculpted, stirred, tossed and kicked.

The snow is gone except for the odd pockets hiding in the shade. Tulips and daffodils have sent word via healthy green stems that they are coming. Even the dogs are craving mud. Mud equals spring.

There is a lot of spring tracked through the house these days. I generally fail to bless its indoor apparitions. Outside I thrill to my first sight of clover in the grass and yearn for more, soon, more, please. I forget to bless the mud. To be patient with its secrets. Mud, brown and grey and black and dull. Mud with gravel, living things, dead things, and heaven knows what smeared through and growing in it. (Around here we have a pretty good idea some of the ingredients in the mud but best not to discuss since I’ve already said the children play in it).

No one gives gifts of mud. At least I’ve never gotten one. But in the mud of which I quickly tire, all the life I long for is preparing to green and grow and come forth. Plain old, nothing special mud. An eyesore, a removal chore, and the stuff of life. The birthplace of colors, beauty, food, and us, where only kids and dogs have the good sense to revel.

Guess I’ll put my window views to good use and ponder a bit more on mud today.

Signs of spring

Remains of snowman

Remains of snowman

 

I'm thinking they won't work for next year

I’m thinking they won’t work for next year

 

Successful jailbreak

Successful jailbreak

 

Mud pie time (with chatter about the recipe that doesn't show up in a picture. )

Mud pie time (with chatter about the recipe that doesn’t show up in a picture. )

 

And lastly . . . badminton.  Badminton has been going on in our garage for three or four weeks now. Although the boys have played until well after dark on the weekends and filled many other hours with their new sport, I have never gone to see the game.  I could not imagine a version of badminton in my garage that would elicit anything from me other than, no. Stop. Now.  Looking the other way seemed the kindest policy, so I haven’t gone.

Yesterday, I saw my first robin. Others saw them earlier in the week, but today was my first. Spring is here. If badminton ends, nobody will die, so finally, I went to see for myself.

The court: look for yellow pole from extended paint roller, stretched from fort in progress across to the shelves for storage tubs.

The court: yellow pole from extended paint roller, stretched from fort in progress across to the shelves for storage tubs, serves as  the net.

 

Points are had by hitting the birdie into one of two plastic tubs at the end. Extra points I am told are had by setting off the mouse traps, one in each side corner. Only one tooth has been lost so far to injury by frozen puck. One hopes with the rising temperatures that the game will be almost safe. :)

Points are had by hitting the birdie into one of two plastic tubs at the end. Extra points I am told are had by setting off the mouse traps, one in each side corner. Only one tooth has been lost so far to injury by frozen puck. One hopes with the rising temperatures that the game will be almost safe. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

tiny treasures

It is hunting season around here. My neighbour always kindly reminds me, or I might forget. Forgetting wasn’t a possibility the other day. It was so loud that I looked out the kitchen window to see if there was a confused hunter out shooting our sheep. Whether it was target practice or boredom, the dog and I stuck to the roads for our walk.

The kids and I call the woods that I usually walk through, “The Magic Forest.” It’s pure Narnia. Especially in winter. Kids who are ambivalent about walks in general, almost always accept invitations to the Magic Forest. Hunting season is short, but I miss my magic trees. Gravel, pavement, telephone poles, and plastic food wrappers (reminding me that living in the country does make the one immune to self-indulgent stupidity) are just not the same, even without the cars.

The only magic on the roads is when I happen on some of the creatures passing by. Skunks, deer, racoons, rabbits, a family of foxes, wild turkey. I always slow down to look. One night a porcupine stopped to look back so we had a conversation in the dark until he finally ambled off.

I think my favourites are the turtles. Every year in May or June, there is a week when the turtles line the gravel on the sides of the road like vacation destinations. A road just around the corner from us seems to be prime real estate. At dusk, huge snapping turtles dig nests in the gravel and lay their eggs. I always want to explain that the benefits of warm blacktop can’t possibly outweigh the danger of cars. I never see the babies, only mothers in the spring. But despite the fatalities, they keep showing up to lay eggs, so something must be working.

On my unmagic walk, I tried to convince the dog that removing the burr from her tail would make her more attractive. We have been having this discussion for about three weeks now. Turns out she doesn’t care what she looks like. Every time she paused to sniff something, I would give a futile attempt to grab at that burr with my fingers. Bent over trying to grab the burr in motion, my eyes caught sight of a hole. For a second I thought some moron had buried their white plastic garbage in the gravel, but logic prevailed and I took a closer look.

On the side of a most un-enchanted and ordinary road, magic. Turtle eggs.  Already hatched. No baby turtles, but I dug out five or six dusty white broken shells and took them home to show the kids. In the dance down here between miracles and madness, mark one for the miracles.