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Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Harbinger of Spring

Changing of the Seasons

No fools joke today.  There's still snow on the ground at the farm and the frost has penetrated deeper than usual.  Nevertheless, spring has arrived.  I went to the day job yesterday sans jacket.  And it was a glorious occasion.

Instinctively I know it's here - but what the heck are the sure signs of spring?

Is it Punxsutawney Phil emerging to see his shadow?  Or not?  Is it the NCAA spectacle of March Madness? 

Sometimes I wonder if it is reviewing last year's garden notes, plotting crop rotation, lamenting the cooking of the last of the 2013 garden potatoes and placing my order with the Jung Seed Company.  

How about scrambling about the boat in the machine shed and getting it ship-shape for launch.  Inventorying tackle, replacing fishing line, mooring ropes and PFDs.  (Note to self - purchase new 12 gauge distress flares to replace the expired ones before you are boarded by the Coast Guard.)

I recently cleaned-out my Webers and stocked-up on charcoal and lighter.  Been ramping-up my grilling. 

For some of you it was the Brewer's opener.

Reflecting upon this subject I've concluded it has more to do with my feathered friends. 

Possibly it is the return of the American Woodcock and his elaborate sky dance courtship ritual.  Maybe it's the quintessential early bird - the American Robin.  Conceivably the sweet whistles that announce the arrival of the Eastern Meadowlark.  One bird - Meleagris gallopavo silvestris - Eastern Wild Turkey doesn't arrive with spring as they are ubiquitous.  Yet their strutting and displaying glorifies the change of season.  They count too.

For me the surest sign that spring has arrived is the return of the Red-winged Blackbird.  They've been here for several weeks already.  The males are first to arrive and they stake out their territories boldly displaying their scarlet epaulets and calling with their distinctive conk'la-ree!  Once the ladies arrive I can count upon being dive-bombed by the males if I wander too close to their nests.

I know some of you suffer from cabin fever and have been chomping on the bit for spring to arrive.  What happens to be your harbinger of spring?

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