Besides an appallingly paltry six blog entries for the entire month of March, Spring arrived in West Michigan at 1:32pm EDT in the middle of a snowstorm. However, that was entirely temporary, and we began a warming trend that persisted into the beginning of April. Of course, weird weather still abounds in different parts of the country -- witness this past week's attempt by the state of Rhode Island to become an island nation unto itself, as both I-95 and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor were cut by flooding on the way to Boston.
Wednesday and Thursday the overnight temps stayed in the 58°-60°F range, rather than the 30s and 40s we'd been getting. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the temps hit 80°F+ and set records.
Red Flags On Parade
No, this isn't about government health care. Rather red flag fire danger warnings began creeping into West Michigan Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We were about 2" down in terms of rain so far this year, and weeks of warm weather has dried out the fields, but it is too early for a lot of the grasses and plants to be putting out much new green growth. Hence brush fires. Unfortunately, most of the rural fire departments are volunteer operations, which found it hard to put enough manpower and water on some of the blazes. One of the fires in Muskegon County got quite large and threatened a lot of homes. It wasn't helped by the stiff 20-30 mph breezes. (Why do farmers go out of their way to plow, disc and fertilizer in dry winds, so that vast clouds cross the nearby freeway threatening to shut down visibility? Oh, because farmers can't depend on the number of good working days, especially after last year's sogginess ruined planting or prevented it from happening at all.)
Living out in the country as we do and surrounded by scads of unchecked vegetation, I do get a little nervous during these times. Though I don't think our weeds were nearly as dried out as some of the stuff I was seeing elsewhere.
But by noon on Saturday, we were running only about 59°F and having a slight drizzle. Eventually things settled into a long soaking rain for a couple of hours. Should keep everyone safe for a while.
The Bluebird of Happiness...
... came calling last Sunday. A nice fat male eastern bluebird, with its blue head, red vest and white breast, nattily sat on our back porch railing singing up a storm. It stayed around for a few minutes, hopping around the railing, then fly off. It was followed by another bird whose species we couldn't immediately figure out -- kind of sparrowy gray and brown, but with a yellow beak. We look these things up in the bird book and either can't find them, or match it up with something which lives only in Costa Rica or is considered extinct and hasn't been seen since 1953. (grin) I was telling this to my mother, who mentioned that she'd never seen a bluebird. Huh. I recall seeing one once or twice in Medina and once, I think, in White Plains NY -- but I'll concede that they were uncommon sightings and ones that we remarked upon when I got home.
Also last Sunday, while sitting for dinner with company, we realized that it'd gotten warm enough for long enough that the swamps and drainage ditches were filling the evening with the sounds of peepers. Little froggy sounds of happy little froggies trying to make more little froggies. Definitely one of the signposts of Spring Really Arriving Here -- and a happy sound we really like to hear out in the country.
No, too soon for crickety noises. But this last week I was struck by how empty the streets were around 5pm. Huh. Kalamazoo Public Schools must've been on spring break, methinks. I believe Grand Rapids schools are this coming week.
So all in all, quite a beginning to spring. Hopefully April will continue on with somewhat less drama than we've seen. We could all use a pleasant spring renewal.