A tantalizing preview of spring

This part of Virginia has been holding on to the winter cold as if a new ice age were coming. Having spent the last half of my life in balmy climates, my biological calendar needs to be reset.

It’s hard to remember how long it takes Spring to arrive when you have spent 15 years in Ft Lauderdale, 15 years in Redondo Beach, and 7 years in Silicon Valley. Spring in those parts comes a few weeks after Christmas and winter is a few short months of sweater weather.

Today was another teaser. I was able to open the shop doors and enjoy the breeze while I worked on a new project. I was still assembling legs for a new set of folding workbenches when the schoolbus stopped and disgorged a bunch of singing and chattering neighborhood children. They quickly dispersed, but their colorful outfits and chirpy voices left the impression that a bunch of finches had come and gone.

I continued to work my way around the assembly fixture, joining smoothly planed sections of pine together and I thought, as the busload of singing children drove off, that I have never been as happy working anywhere in my life before.

Later, I took a break and sat out on the stump of the tree that fell on the house last year. I enjoyed the warmth of the sun and surveyed the slope that runs down to the brook below. It has been two years since we moved in and I have many outside projects to do. The biggest project is the addition of a 10×16 finishing shed for the custom wood products business.

Seeing that I was out in the yard for a change, the cats came down from their high deck and reveled in the opportunity to explore. We had a companionable moment there together. I put out feed for the herd of deer that will come by in the late afternoon and the cats checked the feed trough and drank from the deer’s water trough.

I even took a moment to go over and visit my neighbors dogs. They are having a hard time getting used to the fact that the neighbors are now a truck driving team and are away for days at a time. I scratched and thumped them both and left them happily panting. I felt better myself after giving them the attention they wanted. They are cared for by a dogsitter, but living things can never have too many friends.

We will take advantage of this warm weather, if it holds for a few more days, and plant the trees and shrubs we bought at Lowes yesterday. We have lost so many trees this year, that we now have room to add more. Gretchen has already marked the locations for six Scotch Brooms, two Japanese Black Pines, and a holly-like tree with large blue grape-like berries.

I hope the warm weather comes to stay soon because my productivity soars when I can work with the doors open.

Oh yes, our daffodils are up and crocuses are finally showing. We need to look fast, because the deer think they are great salads.

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