Springtime. The very word conjures up visions of spindly legged lambs bouncing about, chickadees squabbling around the feeder, and trees breaking out in song while the sun beams down benevolently. All very Disney-esque. Unfortunately, I’ve long since been disabused. There’s not going to be a Laura Ingalls look-alike tripping down any of the snow drifts in my backyard any time soon. I have to think that Julius might have gotten to put in the garden come spring of 44 BC if he’d paid better attention to the season- a couple of months of cabin fever is likely to make even the most stoic of Roman Senators a bit cranky.
But there are some undeniable signs that spring is in the air and, rather than hiding under our togas, all that can be done is to grit our teeth and get on with it.
The cats are in heat. And the matriarch of the feline clan is a Siamese. If you’ve never owned a Siamese cat, as much as anyone ever â€˜owns’ a cat, they’re a marvelous breed and come recommended. I’ve found them to be generally good natured and very intelligent. Good natured, intelligent, and very vocal! When a Siamese goes into heat there’s nobody within a three mile radius that isn’t fully aware of the fact. I’ve gone to putting her in my teenaged daughter’s bedroom at night, as not only does Dad remember three o’clock feedings up through the four AM speech team departures, he’s a firm believer in “what goes around, comes around.”
As the snow begins settling, all manner of strange things are beginning to emerge out of the white. I clearly recall cleaning and storing all the garden tools the previous fall, but that is undoubtedly a hoe sticking up by the wood shed and I’m betting that gleam by the birch is Mom’s missingstainless stockpot. Any juvenile male can tell you that, when it comes to building snow forts, there’s a right tool for every aspect of the job. This sort of thinking goes a long way to explaining why a father’s only real duty is to pick up the child and run. Don’t ask questions. Just do it. And if Dad is any good at his job, he’ll have at least a five minute head start on Mom- who just realized that that gleam in the backyard is from her good stockpot that’s been missing since January.
The dogs are harder to fuss at, as they’re genuine believers in the philosophy that a dog’s single greatest purpose in life is to please Mom. The cats leave dead mice by the door for Mom and are rewarded with canned cat food and praise. Not to be outdone, the dogs search far and wide for such extravagant presents as bits of dead deer. The amount of effort it must have taken to get the deer head worried loose from the snow and home must’ve been epic. But our Penny managed it! She sat there on the front walk, tongue lolling, tail wagging; her present propped up, staring sightlessly at the door, and just waited for Mom. To my wife’s credit, she lavished the dog with praise. As I trotted the head out to the burn barrel, it and I came to the silent agreement that spring is overrated.
My two-year-old gelding ate my fence. There was a nice wood fence there last fall. I’d painted it white so that it would have “curb appeal.” It looked good. Apparently it looked good enough to eat because once the snow drift had melted down, a horse-width of it wasn’t there anymore. Boomer, having disposed of the evidence earlier in the season, and now realizing that with the snow drift gone there was no good reason to stay in the paddock, decided the pile of square hay bales would be reasonably diverting. Unlike the cats, the dogs, and the kids, he isn’t bright enough to look sheepish when he gets caught in something he’s not supposed to be into. He trotted right up, hoping for an after-snack nose scratching, and seemed a little put out that I wasn’t overly pleased to see him.
Warmer weather is coming. That thought will see me into April. In the meantime . . . et tu, Boomer? Et tu?