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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in spring

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

I'm in the front yard clearing away the last of the Winter detritus from around the shrubs when I hear the tinny sound of the Summer's first ice cream truck.

All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel.

It's playing the first phrase from the old kiddie classic, Pop! Goes the Weasel. Unfortunately, that's all that it's playing, over and over and over again.

All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel.

All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel.

All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel.

After only a few truncated repetitions, my teeth are already on edge. I wonder how the driver manages to deal with it for hours at a time. Surely he must wake up at night hearing it in his head. Not having heard of any curbside massacres recently, I presume that after a while the thalamus kicks in and you just stop hearing it. Thank Goddess for sensory gating.

All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel.

A few seasons back, the neighborhood ice cream truck played some cowanish Christmas carol; I can't recall which one. (Silent Night, maybe?) I was never sure whether this was intentional or not. Christmas = Winter = cold = ice cream seems a pretty straightforward set of linked associations. Certainly the seasonal incongruity successfully caught my attention pretty much every time.

On the other hand, a lot of local ice cream trucks are owned and operated by immigrants, many of them from the Middle East. I suppose it's possible that the Winter-themed music was no more than a product of blissful cultural unawareness.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Drunk Birds? How a Small Minnesota City Stumbled Into the Spotlight - The  New York Times

 

The first robin of Spring sits in the snow of the front porch roof.

He looks cold.

Pleased as I am to see him—the gods grant the omen—I'm also surprised. Being eaters of worms and insects, robins usually follow the thaw northwards. But it's been a cold Winter here in Paganistan. Not only is the ground still frozen—in fact, the frost-depth is deeper than usual this year—but it's still covered with snow.

Why the robin, then? Easy.

He's here for the party.

Going upstairs one sunny morning in early Spring several years ago, I found myself thinking: What are those birds making such a ruckus about? Looking out the back window, I saw an amazing sight.

The branches of the crab trees on either side of the back gate were filled with robins, all squawking—not singing—at once. First off, this was odd because robins are not, in general, flocking birds.

Moreover, maybe a dozen more were actually rolling in the snow on the roof, a very un-birdlike behavior. As I watched, one staggered and fell over.

In fact, they were drunk.

Late Winter's repeated freezing and thawing ferments the sugars in the hard little crab apples. Birds and animals all know this and seek it out: robins, deer, bears. Think of it: a drunk bear. Now there's an encounter best avoided.

Back when I used to work as a waiter, my fellow servers would often gripe when they got a table of non-drinkers. This is understandable: a few cocktails and a bottle of wine can double a tab and up your tip percentage accordingly. Me, I never minded non-drinkers though, for this very good reason: people that don't drink are much more likely to order dessert, and not just one for the table, either.

In Mormon Utah, where, for religious reasons, many people don't drink alcohol, the per capita sugar consumption is higher than anywhere else in the country. The same is true of Hindu India and the Muslim Middle East. Everybody likes a buzz, and sugar is a powerful drug.

Well, it's been a long, hard Winter. Things are unsure. Food is beginning to run out, and we're not going to be seeing much from the garden in the near future. Meanwhile, we're seeing the worst inflation in decades, gas prices are way up, and Putin's war in Europe could just possibly spell the end of the world-order as we know it.

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    I remember reading a magazine article about how a train car carrying corn had overturned in the rocky mountains. Instead of tryin

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Yeah, yeah: robins, daffodils, blue skies.

Let us consider those other signs of Spring.

 

Potholes.

That metallic shriek from under your car is probably the sound of your axle breaking. Spring's freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw cycle wreaks havoc on the streets, which in turn wreak havoc on your undercarriage, not to mention your dental work.

Freezing Rain.

And you thought snow was bad? Ha! Talk about misery, danger? Baby, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Glacial Lakes.

Yes, the snow is melting, but—the ground being still frozen—there's nowhere for the meltwater to go. So it pools.

Better leave some extra time to get wherever you're going. Once you factor in the time needed for portage, you may just be doubling your trip.

Refreeze.

By day, a glacial lake; by night, a skating rink.

Better practice your falling skills, mate. Believe me, you're going to need them.

Mud.

Once the ground actually does begin to thaw, it softens. Welcome to Quagmire Season!

Among other reasons, Putin's 40-mile road-jam is stalled north of Kyiv because it has to stay on the road. It's rásputitsa season in Ukraine, the mud-time, which means that you might as well stay at home. Once a tank sinks into the mud, you'll never get it out again.

Mat' sira Zemlya, Moist Mother Earth, fights back.

Flotsam and Jetsam.

The receding high tide of Winter leaves behind it six month's worth of accumulated detritus: beer cans, syringes, potato chip bags. The occasional gritty quarter is the best you can hope for.

The Dog Shit Miasma.

A plague on irresponsible dog-walkers. Nothing says early Spring in a Northern city quite like that whiff of canine waste that hits you every time you step out the front door: six months' worth, all thawing at once. Hoo-ha.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Beltane Eve, April 30

Beltane is without a doubt the sexiest of pagan High Holidays and is anticipated greatly throughout the year. Witchy ones celebrate this holy night which falls on the last eve of April, and it is traditional for celebrations to last the entire night. This is a festival for feasting, singing, laughter and lovemaking. On May Day, when the sun returns in the morning, revelers gather to erect a merrily beribboned Maypole to dance around, followed by picnicking and sensual siestas. The recipe below is befitting for this special time of the year when love flows as freely as wine.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Spring Seasonal Festivals

In March we see the more tangible signs of springgrass and trees begin to green, birds return from where they have wintered, and we breathe in the warmer breezes that herald summer ahead. Be careful, howeverMarch can be a month of surprises and changes. Celebrate spring by bringing fresh flowers into your home, and take advantage of the first fruits and vegetables in the markets. March marks the vernal (or spring) equinox, one of only two days of the year where the hours of daylight and the night are balanced equally. The vernal equinox, like its partner, the autumnal equinox, exemplifies the concept of equilibrium and the idea that two halves create a whole: only with the darkness can light be seen and appreciated.

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Sabbat of Imbolc: A February Festival

Although February is the shortest calendar month, it holds many rich festivals from several cultures. Celtic Pagans celebrate Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day, as the first sign of spring in the Wheel of the Year. 

Imbolc translates to “in the milk,” which reflects the lambing and calving season that begins around this time. The idea of purification also runs through February festivals such as Purim, Candlemas and Lupercalia. Take the opportunity to start “spring cleaning” a bit earlier than you usually do to help chase away the winter blues. And of course, February holds Valentine’s Day, a now-secular celebration of affection and friendship.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
For the Love of Succulents

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’ve never had a green thumb. Not even a green pinky. Now I know that succulents have been quite trendy for a spell, but with good reason. They are incredibly self-sufficient and easy to care for. Their leaves don’t tend to shed or leave little leaflets all over your floor. In fact, their often full, pleasing, rubbery leaves are what retain all the water that you douse them with– often as little as one good soak in the sink a week. Another thing that makes them so fun is they come in a vast array of shapes and sizes: viny, cascading, or growing full and upward like a sturdy little tree. Some flower, aloe and cacti fall into the category, and all seem to have whimsical names.

Choosing and Caring for Your Plants

Most like some sunlight, so you should definitely take that into consideration when looking for the right location for your cheery indoor greenery. Two of my recently acquired succulent plants currently reside in my kitchen. The viny ones do especially well as hanging plants, so kitty can’t get at them to nibble something she shouldn’t. One of the longest lasting indoors succulent that I owned survived three moves over a five-year period was a rope Hoya plant. It almost looked fake, but upon closer inspection, you could feel that these twisty, plump, round leaves were definitely the real deal. I believe it would have even survived longer, had I not accidently toppled it after rewatering one day. My replanting attempts definitely need some work, but that’s a tale for another time. When I visited my neighborhood Stein’s Garden & Home in search of more succulents to brighten up my continued pandemic winter this year, alas they had no ropas. One of the saleswomen referred to it as a “grandma plant” that she hadn’t seen in a while.

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