Friday's Weekend Column
Spring Is In The Air

by James Glaser
April 11, 2003

What a change a week makes! The snow is all gone, the sun is out, and the temperature is up in the 50s. It is mating season for our squirrel population. I could tell this because they were all getting along. All winter there had never been more that one squirrel on the feeder at one time. Now it is nothing to see three on the feeder and four hanging around on the deck. Three came to my window at one time yesterday. I think they were telling me to get out and enjoy the weather.

I took a walk down the road a ways. We are at the top of the hill, way above the lake, so I walked down to where the flatlanders live. I wanted to be able to walk out on the ice and see how solid it felt. At our house the shore line right now is soft and down the road it is all rocks, so by going down there, I wouldn't disturb the soil on our shore before it has a chance to dry out.

Yesterday as I got close to the shore I noticed a group of fisherman way out there ice fishing. Well after about ten steps I hit wet slush about four inches thick so decided I had seen enough. As I sit here I can see those guys out there again. I better quit looking because if I see them all plunge through the ice, I would feel obligated to somehow get out to them.

Every winter Minnesota has several people die from going through the ice. Many are on snowmobiles. They drive too fast at night and when they do come to open water they don't have the space needed to stop. Others are kids or even adults fishing before the ice is thick enough to hold them or in the spring when the ice deteriorates. The local saying goes that six inches of December ice is better than three feet of April ice.

Every spring just about everyone up here starts thinking about working in the dirt of their garden. Right now that is not possible because it is still too wet and everything would be mud.

The other day I was sitting at our kitchen table thinking about every thing I have to do to get our flower gardens going and there was a knock at the door. Here was a little red headed neighbor girl out selling things to raise money for the 4-H group. Right away I was thinking those big candy bars or popcorn, but no this year they really had the best thing for sale possible. Flower bulbs, Strawberry plants, and Raspberries too. They make 50% and if you pay up front they get an extra 2%. This girl was young, but her sales technique was great and I bought more than I needed.

I just ran out and took a tour of the yard and found, some weeds growing in the garden and the lilacs are starting to bud. Other than that nothing is stirring. I don't care though, the snow is gone, and it is warm enough not to wear a heavy jacket, gloves, and hat.

Minnesota winters are hard on you, but the contrast with the summer is so great it makes it all worth while. Beside that, as people up here say, if it was nice weather all the time all those city folks would be up here too.

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