Sunday, 13 March 2016


Blue Froggies Come A-Courtin’

The signs are everywhere. Ann and I first heard the returning Canada geese about a week ago. A crimson tulip shoot has poked out of the soil near the gas meter on the back wall of the house. In the long north flowerbed which runs parallel to the fence and property line the ping pong elevated eyes of three blue ornamental frogs peek above the crust of snow. Around the front a new bird bell hanging from the birch has attracted pine siskins and a downy woodpecker, both species tend to feed from gravity defying angles; who knew a couple of impulse bucks at the Dollar Store would bring such delight? We’d gone in for a couple of spare slabs of suet for the feeder in the Ohio buckeye.

Ann turned on the outside water. I connected the garden hose and ran the tap. Ann searched for the attachments because, dear me, I stored them somewhere last fall. I put away the ice chipper and three of four snow shovels (Alberta after all and it’s early yet). I tucked the pail of salt and the bag of grit beneath the back steps. I righted our three large patio tables and arrayed them ready for heavy summer usage. Ann said, ‘It won’t be long before we’ll be reading the morning papers outside.’ Amen, Sister Golden Hair.

We moved gingerly around the front, trying to remember how to tread lightly in our rubber clogs. We shook, rolled and tied the winter mats splayed on the front porch, stowed them in the garage. We carried the three giant flowerpots down from beneath the sheltering eaves and placed them at the bottom of the stairs where they live during the summer months, exposed to the elements. Together we hauled the furniture onto the driveway, the tête-à-tête, the bench, the low table and the red pair of folding chairs. I hosed down the slate surface, Ann swabbed it clean.

As far as we’re concerned our front porch is ready for us to sit out on, stay up late and listen to the living room stereo through the open door. Seating accommodations are ready for friends and neighbours who drop by without texting or phoning. And I’ve never seen our lawn so green this early in a new year. Yet it’s too soon to rake, the ground must still be frozen at least two or three inches deep.

What I really enjoy at this time of year besides planning the garden and a few evenings with a book about baseball is a hot dog. I inspected our barbecue yesterday and it seems just slightly more worse for wear this spring than last year. I want a hot dog. A wiener made from abattoir offal on a white bun with bright yellow mustard and sweet neon green relish. Maybe gussied up with a molten orange, edible oil cheese-like product. I want one now with an option for seconds, thirds and fourths. Spring is almost here; summer’s coming. Bring it.

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