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Getting Mushy

February 28, 2011
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Female Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) eat...

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As In, The Ground is Thawing

Well, what does one do when it is a day of rest, and to “To-Do” list is caught up, and NASCAR isn’t scheduled to start racing until 6:30?  Why, go for a walk.  So I put on my mud boots, yesterday at mid-day, and went tromping out back.  We have had temperate weather these last few days, above freezing most of the daylight hours, and not too far below freezing at night.  The snow is receding, and one can see the ground emerging- yesterday perhaps 30% of the ground was exposed to view.  And the ground is thawing.

A Good Walk it Was

There was a hearty fog yesterday in the morning, moisturizing the air.  That humidity hung on into the afternoon, and as I walked, I recognized it as the smell of spring.  Especially when my mud boots started doing the job they were designed to do- keep the mud off my feet and legs.  My feet were sinking in, and squishing the mud out to the sides.  It took a certain focus to avoid splashing the muck.  Both on the downstep, and on the upstep, I had to focus not to send rivulets of hearty earth any higher than the top of my boots.  And it was good.

Enjoying the Sounds, and the Smell

As the mud mooshed out from under my boots, and I stepped carefully to keep it off my pants, I watched a red tailed hawk circling gently.  We have wide fencerows where the “weeds” grow tall, and unmolested, as a conservation reserve.  We created a few brushpiles along the fencerow, to provide shelter for critters like rabbits, and the hawk was using this as his hunting grounds.  The birds use this refuge area as well, gathering weed seed, and plant material, leaving their footprints in the drifts of snow that gather there.  The sounds of birds near and far were a wonderful replacement for the sounds of bad news on the tee wee.  But the smell of spring, the feel of the earth giving way under foot, the challenge of things to come…made my walk in the field a simple pleasure.

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