Friday, March 20, 2015

March 20, 2015, First Day of Spring! - That's what the calendar says. The increase in the number of birds seems to suggest the same. Sox, the red fox, was out hunting this morning & got closer to the house than ever before. (He would really like to get hold of that chicken next door.) Milkdud and Sweetie went a little crazy wanting to go out and tell him he was trespassing.

Small patches of (dormant) grass have started to appear in our back yard. What contradicts all these signs of Spring is mainly the fact that, it's freezing cold outside and, as we write this, it is snowing big fat flakes on top of the tons of snow still covering the land! We heard that this February was the coldest ever recorded for Amherst and that Boston experienced record breaking amounts of snowfall. (The locals are sure a record was broken here as well but we have enough space for it not to be quite as horrific.)

But we started our countdown to spring 2 months ago to pick up our spirits and we are still determined to keep our attention focused on the upcoming seasonal change. Along those lines, we had a meeting with superhero tenant Ben, who we discovered is also a gardener extraordinaire.

Sooooo, we are very happy to announce, WE ARE GOING TO GROW STUFF!!! Up on the balcony will be the herb garden - mint, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and chives. Maybe the tomatoes will go there also. Down below will be squash, zucchini, eggplant, brussel sprouts, spinach, asparagus, and an attempt at artichokes. Also going to try for strawberries, cantaloupes and watermelons, and maybe even plant an apple tree. (We only have crab apples and wild blackberries now.)

The Spring To-Do Wish List is several pages long, divided into what we can do, what our sensational builder Ryan Regan-Ladd can do and what our phenominal electrician Marc Bussiere can do. Additionally, we already got bids in for the pool repairs, an efficient heating/cooling system and a complete cleaning and repair of the ductwork.

The DIY list for our upstairs (personal living space) is extensive, but we have high hopes of getting ALL of this done while windows can be opened -
1. Scrape and paint the ceilings
2. Refinish the kitchen cabinets
3. Repaint all the walls and woodwork
4. Replace the porch screen
5. Paint/seal the porch framework and floor.

We promise lots of before, during and after pics...and, of course, plenty of dramas, traumas and giggles along the way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 10, 2015:  I'm Mellllltiiiing! A very very very short story by Marilyn...
I hear the cries from the dying mound of gray snow, the squeals from the icicles hanging from the eave and the desperate moans from the thick slabs of ice covering every stair and walkway. I let out a victorious cackle and wickedly wring my hands. My spell has finally taken effect. Begone Old Man Winter! You waged a valiant assault but you've lost this round to the spunky gals from Florida.

It was a year ago this week when we got our first look at western Massachusetts, took in the tons of slushy snow, single-digit temperatures and discovered how hard it is to get southern dogs to do their business in the snow. And we still chose to make the move. Happy Anniversary to us!

And because you put up with my silliness, here's a picture I took this morning from the living room. Even the sun seems excited.
Sunrise 3-10-15 (No color added)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015: (From Marilyn)
Glory be! At 7:30 am, as I was dragging the jumbo garbage cans through the ice and snow that had fallen during the night (yes, again!), a bird flew right over my head and stopped on a tree branch in front of me. It sat still long enough for me to note all its markings and confirm that it was a ROBIN and it seemed to want to make sure I saw it. The old "first sign of spring" has me smiling again!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The labyrinth - only the center bench top marks it.
March 1, 2015:  When we started this blog, we were sure it would be easy to keep coming up with entertaining posts with lots of pictures, especially considering the concept. But we made each other one promise - to never, ever use the blog as a place to rant or complain or spread negativity. However, today, as we sit inside watching yet ANOTHER heavy snowfall blow across our property, plus a weather forecast of even more on its way later in the week, that promise is getting harder and harder to keep. I mean, seriously, how many pictures can you take of snow? Okay, maybe just 4 more.

The pool
Height of snow in our driveway.

So, sticking to positive progress only...

Joie is about halfway through her second term in a PhD program of an outstanding university, loving the school, her professors, her students and her cohort of new friends.

Marilyn is almost finished with ROMAN, the 6th book in her Innerworld Affairs series, which means she will meet her deadline. 

The long-time locals here in western Massachusetts have repeatedly told us that they've NEVER had a winter like this one. We have chosen to believe them.
Proof that the sun does come out on occasion and that the sky is still blue.