Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Signs of Spring

We had our first Earth Scouts adventure Sunday morning, and once I finally convinced three little boys who wanted to stay in their jammies and play Legos all day to get dressed, it went surprisingly well. They loved the vests and bags, and refused to put coats on over them, even though it was only 32.5 degrees out.

We went out looking for signs of spring. Here E and Z point out some green moss. That's not covered in snow. That counts.

We hiked our little trail and heard chickadees singing their "see-saw" song (yes I know it's called the "fee-bee" song, but it sounds like "see-saw" to me), and heard (and saw) a Canada goose fly overhead (definitely a sign of spring). M thought he heard an owl and E thought he heard a peacock (hmm).

We walked on crunchy snow (yes, that's spring-like). And saw that below the willow tree, the ice on the river is breaking up.

We found a big pile of feathers from a grouse that met its demise near the river's edge, and everyone was able to add a few to their foraging bags. At home we made a list of our spring sightings, looked up grouse in the bird book, to make sure that's what we saw (also verified by C who for more sinister reasons--i.e. dinner--has had occasion to be up close and personal with grouse feathers.

We also started some wheat grass seeds. I wanted to try to do it soil-less, so we're experimenting with our Bio-set seed sprouter. We'll see how it goes.

Another sign of spring is C's maple sugaring operation. Not one to do things by halves (note the twins), C is incapable of tapping a couple of trees for a couple of quarts of syrup...instead he's got probably 30 or more taps distributed through the neighborhood, and has been boiling three days each weekend. Not sure what we're up to on syrup, but I'd say it's nearing 20 gallons.

I'm not a huge fan of sugaring season, because it means C is unavailable for huge chunks of time, and a constant stream of people drop in for a visit. Which is wonderful, when it's my friends who I enjoy talking to and hanging out with, but when it's my in-laws making themselves permanent fixtures in my front yard, let's just say it's not so good for my tooth-grinding issues. It is better this year than two years ago, last time he sugared, because the twins are older and more independent, so I have to give them less constant attention, and worry less about them falling into the stove, even though Z thinks the only place to be is in the 20 inch space between the evaporator and the wood pile.

Saturday night, after I sat through the interminable town meeting (alone, because C was boiling...but no I'm not resentful!), we had a little Equinox blaze...an old Christmas wreath (from two or three years ago), welcoming spring!

I would say the boys got their four elements play in this weekend--Earth (mud, mud, and more mud...M rode his bike in it all Saturday and Sunday and looked like he was made of adobe by the end); Water (the melting river...although we didn't actually play IN it); Fire (flaming wreath; evaporator burning cords of wood); and Air (M flew a kite for 93 minutes Sunday...trying to go for the world record!).
Happy Spring!


  1. Wow. Y'all are definitely the coolest family I sort of know. Happy Spring!

  2. This is so GREAT, Andrea. I just love their Earth Scout vests, especially with the striped fleece pants you made. Sounds like it was a fun outing & I am such a fan of looking up what you saw in your bird reference book (book nerd here). Your kids are very lucky to exposed to all these things: mud, rivers, bird feathers, maple sugaring, etc.

  3. Our signs of spring are Canada geese, redwing blackbird males, and warm weather which has regressed to snow this week. I am looking forward to maple syrup!

  4. I completely agree that crunchy snow IS a sign of spring!

  5. Lucky boys! Sounds like a wonderful way to welcome spring. So what do you do with all that syrup?? Send some over here?

  6. LSM--Sure you don't mean COLDest family?

    Sara--yeah, but we don't have a Bakfiets.

    Mountain Grandma--Just saw a RW Blackbird for the first time today (seems late) sitting on a branch w/ a red-tailed hawk! Talk about brotherly love.

    Jessica--we take what we can get.

    Katherine--wonder how much it would be to send a pint of syrup to South Africa (and how long would it take?) Actually last time we made about 40 gallons and it was gone by July! Some went to gifts, some to friends who helped or shared their trees, but most went directly into C's gullet on his daily pancakes (or Ployes--did they have those in N.S.?).

  7. I thought all birds were terrified of hawks, and for good reason!


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