Monday, April 4, 2016

Welcome Spring

Spring, ever so welcome and a bit early, has arrived. The first week in March I stepped out on the deck and heard hundreds of sandhill cranes flying overhead. Two weeks later, my husband and I drove out to central Nebraska. During the afternoon we rolled down the windows and drove county roads to watch the birds in the fields. The fields were brown and the March sky filled with blustery gray clouds. Crane watching isn't a cherry blossom festival but a spectacle of natural color and season. In the fields, the cranes bounce up and down, fly a short distance, and then parachute down to another feeding spot. All the time, they call to each other with sounds that haven't changed for thousands of years.

After dinner, we dressed in layers and walked out onto a pedestrian bridge over the Platte. While light left the sky and the smell of cold wet grasses rose from the riverbanks, we chatted with two women from Colorado and listened to a father and children from Chicago spot two deer. At sunset, the cranes flew up and down the river searching for their evening roost. They kept their distance from bald eagles in a tree on a nearby sandbar. They were also wary of the humans gawking from the bridge. Still we viewed extended wings and red masks through binoculars as we listened to their ancient cries. The Rowe Sanctuary  website posts excellent photos and information about the cranes. Crane Music: A Natural History of American Cranes by Paul A. Johnsgard, a noted ornithologist, is another good resource. Most springs, I reread a section that begins,  "In the heart of North America, there is a river . . .  There is a season in North America . . . There is a bird in North America . . . "  And so, once again spring begins.

The temperatures bounce up and down from just below freezing to a warm 81. On a cold gloomy day last week, I made a list of spring cleaning chores. Saturday was warm so I worked outdoors. I stirred the compost bins. Then I gave the bird feeder a soak in a bucket of water while pulling weeds from the vegetable garden and raised bed. I finished the afternoon by potting up some pansies for the front porch. Flowering trees in my neighborhood are in full bloom. The blooms are early this year but they are gorgeous. Fresh air blowing through the house is glorious.

My knitting projects have also turned to spring. I threw caution and a cowl-in-progress to the spring winds. Instead I pulled out two skeins of rose colored yarn that I have been saving for something, evidently a Frozen Silver Shawl. Alternating garter and textured stitches is a peaceful knit. In the process, I learned a new stitch - Diamond Pattern- which looks like a trellis to me. The instructions are very clear and the stitch isn't difficult.  I have also been knitting up some dish/wash cloths. Over this last winter and holiday season, I had given my stack away. I enjoy giving them to new Moms, someone going through a rough patch, to say thank you, or just to brighten a day. A few new dish cloths in my kitchen would be a breath of fresh air. Perhaps they will motivate me as I move through my inside Spring cleaning chores.

What about you? How do you welcome Spring?


  1. You are so thoughtful to knit dishcloths for others. It's a nice, personal gift with a fun bar of soap. Your shawl looks great and will be like a delicate bird in spring. I am not really a spring knitter. I'm used to fog and now we live in a warmer climate. I do have a few tops that are springish in weight. I should think about knitting one once I get my Idle-Plummy-Wood finished.

  2. brrr, spring is chilly right now however we had lovely spring like temps earlier a few weeks ago. Love that shawl!! and you are adorable in the photo :)

  3. How lovely that Spring has arrived on your doorstep. Crane watching is one of my favorite Spring activities.
    I think new dishcloths do indeed help motivate one to clean. At least it works for me. :)

  4. I love your description of the cranes!!! I think we're on a migratory route here...and have heard their call but never experienced all you did. A nice way to welcome in the new season!!!