“Walking on Sunshine”

Many people in the Twin Cities metro are walking on sunshine because of the wonderful weather change since Monday. Of course, the 1983 song by Katrina and the Waves has received ample airplay on a couple of the radio stations. Between Monday and Friday, the landscape changed from sooty gray on dirty white to mostly green on khaki. Wardrobes consisting of parkas and Sorel boots now are tank tops and sandals. Car washes and nail shops are insanely busy and Dairy Queen has a steady stream of cars in line from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. The furnace is getting a rest and the air conditioner surprised me by kicking on late this afternoon. Sun and blue sky replaced the slate gray gloom. We have a surprise thunderstorm underway now rather than freezing rain and sloppy snow.

All my snow melted off Friday and the last of the ice in the backyard shady spot was gone Saturday morning. The temperature had not risen above 60°F this year. Friday was our first 70°F day and today (Sunday) was our first 80°F day. I took advantage of the weather and got the gardens prepped and seeded for the season and did some brush trimming and chipping. I am kicking myself for the wonderful mild sunburn I have on the top of my head from spending eleven hours in the sun between yesterday and today. It shows that I’m not as young as I once was. I am also very thankful for ibuprofen and Powerade.

May could still play a cruel practical joke on us. The weather forecasts for Wednesday night and Thursday night mentioned the dreaded “s” word again. Monday is the last 70°F day for the next week, and Tuesday that last day above 60°F. While the normal high is about 63°F, Wednesday will struggle to make it into the 40’s. The weekend might rebound to the mid 50’s.

I know eleven hours doing garden prep and brush removal sounds like a lot of work. Lucy would help and we would get it done in about half the time. I know she would be disappointed with the late start to the growing season, but she also knew many things were beyond her control. Our reward for a busy day of gardening was dinner at Romano’s Macaroni Grill or Don Pablo’s, then sit in porch on the glider. We savored these warm days with low humidity and no pesky bugs. We would also do some brainstorming and get ideas for the next project (or seven).

We thought ahead and went with low maintenance perennials. The spring readiness and fall clean up were the only two periods of hours of work. Watering, weeding, and cleaning the birdbath amounted to about two hours per week. Mowing takes about 1½ hours when needed, twice per week during the rainier spring and every other week in the drier summer. Thinking ahead gave us more time to enjoy the weather by going for walks. We would average about 200 miles per year walking. By not being in the backyard constantly, it gave the birds a chance to find the birdbath and nesting spots and keep us entertained.

The earlier sunrise time is giving the cardinals more time to sing loudly. I have two males that are in the midst of a territory dispute. One likes to perch in the ash tree outside the bedroom window and sing his own praises at the top of his lungs, usually at 4:30 am (it is still better than an alarm clock!). About a dozen bluebirds used the birdbath today despite my making a terrible racket with the chipper. A crow and a great horned owl had a dust-up, with the crow losing many feathers. The online falcon cam shows peregrine falcons nesting on the Black Dog power plant smokestack about two miles southeast of me. They may have hatchlings because of the flyovers at treetop level. I think they’re ready for spring, too.

Tomorrow is another delightful day, around 75°F with a slight breeze. I have to replace my weather station tomorrow, assuming the new one arrives, and that requires climbing up on the roof. The old anemometer took a hit from an ice chunk Monday. It lost so much weight that it dropped a cup! I know, don’t give up my day job to be a comedian. That will also give me a chance to clear the branches and twigs that fell on the roof after the ice and snow Monday. The old weather station is over twelve years old and the anemometer registered too slowly, even when it had all its cups. The new one accepts data on a USB port and not a serial port, and it has a more accurate anemometer.

My hope is the weather is wonderful where you are. Please give your loved ones a meaningful hug or two, let them know you love them, and take a few minutes to do some “Walking on Sunshine”.

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