Dear Diary

Excerpt From Jane's World

I think spring is finally here!

I put my snow shovel away today. I'm not certain if this means I'm optimistic or lazy. Optimistic because today is a gorgeous, blue-sky, sunny spring day. I can almost see the grass growing and turning greener as the days get longer. There is, however, a good chance I'm lazy, because I've walked past that snow shovel for a while, and we haven’t seen snow for several weeks. 

We pulled the plug on the water bowl heaters for the goats, pigs, ducks, and geese three weeks ago. I've had to use the heel of my boot to break a layer of ice about a half dozen times since then, though.

I'm hoping today we turned the corner on winter. The flowers seem to think it's spring. Everything is coming on all at once. In one long hike through the woods and along the river I found bloodroot, spring beauties, may apples, violets, fiddleheads, Virginia bluebells, bellwort, hepatica, Dutchman's breeches, marsh marigolds, and skunk cabbage. 

My yard is the typical post-winter mess. Enough assorted deer bones to reconstruct the deer; a variety of dog toys, wringing wet and torn apart; leaves everywhere; more tree debris than you could shake a stick at; and leftover pumpkin stems from Louisa and the goats' pumpkin parties before the snow started falling. I anticipate being done with my spring cleanup by the end of May. However, I’m ahead of schedule this year with my mower. I already took it in to get tuned up, and it’s back in the snake shed, where it will stay until my grass grows another couple of inches. I'm not interested in rushing into mowing season. I'll need to dig out my mowing dress.

My back pastures are closed off to the donkeys to let the grass have a fighting chance to grow before Diego and Carlos sink their teeth into it. This means I need to stay alert. The donkeys, no different from all the calves we've seen sneaking under the fences, know that the grass really is greener anywhere but in their holding pasture. I've been busy brushing out their winter coats but they're not too interested in letting them go yet. A red flag perhaps? Maybe we will have more snow. Once the donks feel spring right down to their recently trimmed toes, their winter coats will let go all over the pasture and my backyard. The birds can hardly wait. They'll fly down and snatch that hair for their nests.

I've had a considerable number of daytime-flying bats in my backyard. I love seeing the bats, knowing how they help keep the bugs away. I'm not sure why they’re flying in the daytime, but my guess is that they too have been watching and waiting for spring. The umbrella I put up on the back deck gives the bats a great hiding spot. I put the umbrella down each night, and when I roll it open in the morning there’s often a bat or two sound asleep inside. I don't know why they choose this instead of the bat house I put up for them.

Springtime means playtime for Louisa and the goats. Today they were running all around the yard, having a gay old time. Louisa, short fat legs and all, can climb up the two steps onto my porch where I've been known to take an afternoon siesta. There is nothing more unrelaxing than trying to nap with the goats stomping around, the pig grunting and pushing my chair to see if I've dropped any food, Finn lying on my belly, Raime herding the cats into the corner of the porch, and Téte barking because she wants to play. Somehow though, it all makes me smile. 

I almost forgot to mention the ten ducklings playing in the house! They’re living in a tub that sits in a crib in my bathroom. Every year I add to my flock. It's amazing to watch them, even at this young age, take a drop of water and make it into a puddle. So busy until they tumble over and fall asleep, one on top of the other. 

Having the babies in the house is a sure sign of spring!

P.S. Louisa went in her pool today. She almost broke it. Good thing I have two spare pools.

Originally Published April 27th, 2017 in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout