Spring Is Happening!

We are finally, finally in the full throes of spring, and I just cannot get enough of it. Fortunately, my husband is very understanding about my need to be outside, and my dog might have cabin fever worse than I do. It’s a close call, though 😉

These past weeks, we’ve spent oodles of time outside, which means a fair amount of off-leash time for Petey. We’ve learned that he gets easily grass-stained, and that he does enjoy the water (weren’t so sure there for a while – he gave wide berth to any puddle we came across in the winter). The beach is particularly nice after a hot hike, because even on a warm day (I’m talking low 70’s/20C) the water is cold (38F/3C).
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Those who know me or who’ve followed the blog for a while know that most of our outside time has been spent in the woods. We’ve done hours of mushroom hunting, and haven’t been too successful until tonight. We’ve found a few, but we’ve been far more successful at finding cool things in the woods to look at. It’s not a bad deal. If I’m not going to find dinner, it doesn’t hurt to find pretty things. When you’re intensely focused on details like you must be to find morels, you tend to notice the details in other things. That’s how the teensy-tiny orange mushrooms grabbed Tony’s attention. And how cool is that teal wood? I have no idea why it’s that color, but that’s how I found it. Speaking of blue, how about those fungi on the tree? Such cool stuff out there, I tell ya!

Such cool stuff, and such scary stuff. Yes, scary stuff. Yesterday was one of the most glorious days a person could hope for. I took Petey for his morning walk, and just wanted to call in “Can’t focus – too pretty out.”


I didn’t, but I wanted to. And Petey wanted me to, too, because he kept going to the back door and plaintively looking back at me. Eventually it dawned on me that it would be a perfect day for working on the patio. I grabbed my laptop, phone, and some water, and opened the door.

Less than 100 feet away, over where the deer occasionally bed down, a cougar sprang off into the woods. A Petey-sized (he’s 67-lbs now) cougar. I am 99% sure of it. I’m leaving a 1% chance it wasn’t a cougar because I have no photos or other evidence, but I know what bobcats look like and I know what coyotes look like, and it was not those. And it certainly wasn’t a deer. It might have been a Bigfoot, though.

Seriously, it was a cougar. In my yard. The funny thing is that cougars are far more elusive than morels, and I’ve looked for years to find one of those on our property. I should have looked for a big mountain lion, because here’s the ironic thing: when we went over to see if it had left any tracks, I found a morel.

It’s on the right. I included the left shot of some poisonous lookalikes for fun.

Not all our days have held such excitement. We’re still mostly reveling in not dressing in layers and in all the green. And I’ve been enjoying the simple act of capturing a sunset that happens well into the evening. It’s enough, and I’m happy with it 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

A news outlet up here passed around an image on Facebook underscoring that Michigan had the coldest March in the world this year. This is not hyperbole. It was cold.
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So it goes that when the Daily Post issued their weekly photo challenge this week, and the topic was spring, I knew I’d be playing along. I didn’t know what I’d post, but after this winter, I have been seeking signs of spring in a way that borders on desperation. I even thought about taking macro photos of the buds on the crab apple trees we planted last year, except they are so tiny that I don’t think they’d even look interesting up close :-/

It rained all day yesterday and most of today, but just a short while ago the clouds broke and the sun peered through. With the brilliant sunlight (any light seems bright after days of grey), I knew I’d find something outside.

Is there anything so refreshing as the pure green growth of spring?
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spring photo challenge

The Myth of Spring

They say March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. Around these parts, March roared like a lion for four solid weeks, and then toyed around with the idea of bleating softly for about three days at the end of the month. Since then, Mother Nature has been felinishly fickle – taunting us because we’re the prey she knows can’t escape.

Sure, we know it’s spring, and that this winter will end, but some days it just does not feel like it. Days like yesterday – when we had lake effect snow all day – and today – when the temperature was supposed to rise into the mid-40’s (~8C) but did not.

The sun shone brilliantly all day, I tricked myself into believing it was as toasty as it appeared. I even promised Petey we’d go on a hike after work, because who wouldn’t want to? Us, as it turns out. By which I mean Tony and me, because Petey was all about the sniffing. It must’ve been the smelliest trail he’s walked on. We didn’t notice. We were cold. The silver lining? The woods are showing some spring progress. 1 – No signs of snow 🙂 2 – Leeks are sprouting and other photosynthetic varieties are reaching sunward. Still, we took the short path, choosing not to meander onto exposed hilltops.

After cutting our walk short, we decided to hop over to the marina to see if Torch Lake had visibly melted since our last viewing. Driving by the south end yesterday, we noted quite a bit of liquid expanse and were hopeful for similar exposure nearby.
Torch under ice
No luck. In Alden, the ice still clings. And it’s not just a skim coat, in case you were wondering. Yesterday’s 17mph NNW winds pushed some ice up onto the rocks, so we can see just how thick it is floating on top of our precious turquoise lake.

Thick. Looks like winter is determined not to relinquish its icy grip yet, even though May is just around the corner. Still, our grass gets greener by the day, and our snow drifts shrink. Hope remains 🙂
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Spring Is on the Way

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Spring is on the way.

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We can’t see the grass anywhere, and the snowdrifts are still up to my collar bones, but spring is on the way.

It may still look and feel just like winter, but I can tell. I know all the signs.

These sweet girls visited us on their Spring Break, and we did all kinds of spring things, like sledding, snowy hiking, and ice caving.

Also, we just celebrated the transition to Daylight Saving Time, colloquially called “Spring Forward,” so it must be almost spring.

And it’s the middle of March, which is when spring arrives. So it’s definitely on its way.

The pavement pieces that tile our road were clear for two days, so spring is sure to arrive soon.

Why just today we went skiing and then hiking through snowpack – two quintessential springtime activities.


The lakes are still frozen solid, and the winds bring frostbite in moments.

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But there’s light in the sky until 9:00pm.

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And it did rain the other day. So yes, spring really is on its way. It’s just that it could be winter again by time it arrives.

A note about my sanity: I’m not really that upset about this winter. It’s been beautiful, as you can see from this slew of photos, mostly taken during this morning’s sunrise over the fresh snow. It’s surely been a long, cold winter, but it hasn’t been without its rewards. We’ll enjoy whatever weather comes our way, and will savor the springtime even more when it does arrive. In July. 😉

Also, many thanks to my Crazy (formerly) Goan Friend for the nudge to write again 🙂