April madness

Chickadee on six foot snow bank

Chickadee on six foot snow bank

The long winter continues.

Another eight inches of snow yesterday morning, give or take three inches.  (It could have been eleven inches.  We’ve ceased measuring in late April.)

I am really OK with it.  No need to offer condolences.  We escaped to Florida earlier in the month, thereby easing Endless Winter Restlessness Syndrome.

I’m not sure the other locals are faring as well.  One senses a certain madness in the flitting eyes of grocery shoppers.  Alcohol sales are up.  People tend not to make sense anymore.  Just sayin’.  The livin’ is not easy up here in Cabin Fever land.

"Our" doe is still alive

“Our” doe is still alive

In an earlier blog post I discussed the agonizing scenario of the wild animals who suffer tremendously from the extended winter.  (What is it, five months now?  Six months?  We’ve lost count.)

We’re feeding “our” doe, the one who hangs around the house, vegetable and fruit scraps and carrots.  Lots of carrots.  Chris, Barry’s co-worker, gave him a large plastic yellow bag filled with carrots.  Mini carrots and regular sprouting carrots.  The bags expired in February.  The deer doesn’t seem to mind.  She chews and chews and chews and then her lean legs cut through the snow crust as she makes her way beneath a spruce tree to rest. She still runs when she sees us.  How we wish she didn’t run.

Hungry raccoon approaches bird feeder last weekend

Hungry raccoon approaches bird feeder last weekend

I was thinking about Laura Ingalls Wilder book “The Long Winter”.  How their prairie winter lasted forever one winter and the trains didn’t run to deliver their food.  How the pioneers almost starved.  How the children grew thin and frail like our doe.  How challenging it must have been for early settlers to survive a long winter on last year’s beets and carrots and apples and dried venison.

How some people did not survive.

What a hardier stock these people must have been.  They probably didn’t bitch about inconsequentials.  They mustered the will to survive until May (or June) when snow finally melted and they could taste bitter wild greens and brew wintergreen tea and munch wildflowers.

Snowy-faced gray squirrel

Snowy-faced gray squirrel

I do know some of them went crazy in their snow-covered cabins–if they didn’t freeze–crazy with endless white, crazy with the way the spirit seems to shrivel and lose hope with never-ending snow, burrowing tighter within, shut doors, yet another fire.

Those who live in the Land of Endless Winter will recognize that short-sleeve moment–if it ever comes–when the heart begins to expand outwards and one remembers, truly remembers, what it’s like to open like a seedling sprouting green toward the shining sun of New Life.

But I dream.

The high school kids wonder if they’ll play golf or run track outside this year.  We saw a picture on Facebook of some kids before Prom.  Some of them are wearing heavy winter boots with their prom dresses.  No kiddin’.  (I’ll try to find the picture for you.)

Prom in Winter Wonderland

Prom in Winter Wonderland

I could have blogged about anything today–anything in the Universe–but couldn’t leave this theme of the Long Winter yet.  I could have blogged about meeting a new friend yesterday afternoon, barrelling out of the heavy driveway snowy slush, praying not to get stuck.  Could have blogged about how I taught her how to start a WordPress blog.  Showed her some of the basics.  Felt like an old pro, you know, one of the ancient blogging grandmothers, older than the oldest snowman, older than the oldest snow drift…

It’s still upon us, dear reader in your sunny southern locale, heck, maybe even in lower Michigan where bean fields lie underwater, rivers overflowing their spring banks.  It’s one of those unusual years that people will talk about for years to come.

Do you remember the winter of 2013? they’ll ask.  We’ll nod.  Oh, yes, we’ll nod.  We remember, we’ll say.  We surely remember…

P.S.  Barry says I can’t end this endless winter essay on a dismal note.  He says I have to tell you.  About the hopeful forecast.  They’re predicting 65 degrees (18 C) by Sunday, cross their hearts and hope to die, stick a needle in their eye.  (Just kiddin’.  I didn’t mean to type that. Must have been some of that Cabin Fever madness.)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in April 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to April madness

  1. Here in the LP got a few inches overnight, mostly gone now. I have also witnessed many “confused” animals recently too. Like the young deer on the lake and a coyote who decided to pace back and forth across the lake one afternoon. Hopefully a very nice summer is in store for us this year? I can dream, right? Hoping to break cabin fever soon with a trip to sunny southern California.

  2. Heather says:

    Yaaaaay! Your short-sleeve moment is coming. May your spirit expand and soar 🙂
    How funny (surely it *must* be funny) that we’ve had two memorable winters back-to-back, and in entirely different ways. It’s much easier to console oneself about the long winter in contrast to last year’s short winter and devastation on agriculture.

  3. Susan D says:

    Awww, the animal photos just tug at my heart … wonderful, bittersweet captures. May our Winter “madness” be on the wane …

  4. Colleen says:

    Yes to all the short sleeve, heart expanding moments soon to come Kathy. I experienced winters like this, growing up in Alberta and have deep-in-my-bones body memory of those times. I don’t think they ever leave us, even after decades of living in more temperate climates.

  5. Barb says:

    Hoping for a warm sunny weekend for all you folks up north! We are currently in the mid-40’s lamenting that today is not more like yesterday or the day before (mid-60’s to low 70’s) I could not even convince myself to pick up a couple of plants for my garden from 2 new greenhouses today! But I have faith that sooner, or later maybe, spring will arrive in all her glory!!

  6. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy…it IS coming! We had the heavy wet snowstorm on Earth Day and ended up with about 7-8 inches of new snow. Broken branches everywhere. But it’s nearly all gone now and today is bright and sunny and 47 degrees! Low to mid 50s expected for tomorrow! 70s by the weekend! Maybe…..maybe……maybe…this long winter is finally saying good bye. Let’s all hang onto that hope.

  7. Mary Lou Knapke says:

    Mary Lou

    “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Is. 43:19

    Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2013 18:32:20 +0000 To: fountainpenmlk@msn.com

  8. sybil says:

    When that loverly mild weather comes on the weekend, you just set yourself down on your back deck with a glass of alcohol and watch as the snow melts away. And from where you sit, you can reach occasionally into the big bag of carrots leaning up against your chair, and toss them toward your timid doe. Enjoy, my friend, enjoy.

  9. Been raining all day today — so while we have no snow we do have precipitation. I am glad you are taking care of your doe–and that soon you will see some nice weather–we have had some ups and downs–but as I have probably said before I am not looking forward to the really hot weather either–but nice spring weather is welcome.

  10. lisaspiral says:

    As long as the woodpile is still holding up I’m not too worried about you! Prom in winter boots, why not? Most of those girls dance barefoot anyway. At least you’re girls seem to have some sense. Our city girls will tromp through the snow in strappy sandals.

  11. Val says:

    The squirrel looks like it’s trying to warm its nose with its paws. It’s probably good that the deer doesn’t allow itself to get friendly with you, that way it keeps its instincts.

    Sympathies with the endless winter. Our spring/winter is a stop-start affair.

  12. john says:

    The winter in cooperating with me. They won’t melt the snow until I’m able to cut the grass. Based on the MRI I had on my back yesterday, we may have snow until July. 😉

  13. Lori D says:

    Ha! I just read Terri’s blog who lives in Minnesota who also posted photos of the snow. She said even her dog who loves the snow is tired of it. Then, she posted the graphic of their 5-day forecast and the 60’s were coming. Yeehoo! Hang in there.

  14. sandiwhite says:

    You’ll see cherry blossoms yet, I promise. I’ve been planting palm trees, begonia’s, lantana’s and other heat resistant plants at the golf club today. Then came home, turned up the heat, found a sweater and a mug of hot tomato soup.

  15. Holy Toledo – the kids in the prom photograph had to be freezing their lundies-undies off! The raccoon looks like he means business. Serious business.

  16. lucindalines says:

    Oh your bit on The Long Winter really hit me. So many of the people on the plains went crazy because of the wind. The endless wind on this prairie. It is blowing today, and we lost another track meet next Tuesday. At least the sun is shining. There is hope.

  17. Joanne says:

    You gave us all a high note early on in your endless winter essay Kathy, showing your beautiful little doe-eyed doe. The poor little guy may be timid, but he sure knows where to find carrots! Keeping my fingers crossed for that warmer weather prediction for you.

  18. susan says:

    Hi Kathy,
    OMG, I am ONE of those cabin fevered nuts – I’ve been up here since Mar.28 and it’s been one snow after another with brief teases of melt in between. Yes I heard the forecast! YAY Let it be spring! There’s been talk the pickleball folks are ready to SHOVEL the courts off! Took the dog for a walk in the RARE sunshine today and it felt great to get outside in sunshine!
    I’m so done with organizing – not that IT IS DONE totally – I’m just ready to start playing!!!!

  19. Stacy says:

    It was actually cold here today, too….in the 50’s….yes, I realize “cold” is a relative term.

    Hang in there, Winter Gal – Sunday will be here before you know it. ❤

  20. dawnkinster says:

    It snowed here today, funny I blogged about the same thing kind of, but not enough to stick. We were lucky. I guess.

  21. dorannrule says:

    What a stark portrait you paint of your part of the world – a mesmerizing account that warrants reading a second time. I love the photo of all the prom girls in their spring colored dresses and some with winter boots. And the poor creatures of the forest who know yours is a place of refuge. 65 degrees is just the beginning now, so keep your camera ready for real spring. And thanks for sharing this remarkable post. 🙂

  22. That first photo is simply exquisite Kathy! Loved it!

  23. Barb says:

    Let’s hope those forecasters are right. A friend from the UP sent me a pic today of a snowman with a noose around his neck. Hope it doesn’t come to that! Still snowing here in CO, too. I leave for UT Sunday. Hurray!

  24. I hoping that the forecast is right, for both the humans and the critters!

  25. me2013 says:

    You are having it bad, I feel for you and the poor animals. The worlds weather seems to have gone mad. it’s nice that you are looking after the doe. We have just adopted a hedgehog who has needed help over the winter and now needs somewhere to convalesce.

  26. Kerry Dwyer says:

    We thought winter would never end. No snow here, snow is rare, just miserable wet windy and cold. By the beginning of April I was wondering if I would have enough wood to keep the fire burning. Then one day last week we just skipped spring and went straight into summer. Baking hot days. It is very strange now we have a day of really cold and then the next really hot. My poor veg garden is confused.

  27. aurajayne says:

    Your words are so true! I find myself going a little crazier each day and MOODY! Looking much better for the weekend. I guess I’ll believe it when I see it!

  28. Robin says:

    Time to break out the shorts and t-shirts if it’s going to get that warm. 😉

  29. Carol says:

    Winter seems to have decided the midwest is the place to be this year – we are having an unusually early and warm spring. It’s just the end of April and I have a lilac bush about to burst into bloom – that never happens this early! I am sad that our grumpy old man winter weather has settled on you – in spades, yet, because we never got that much snow this late – but I am so loving our warmth!

  30. Janet says:

    Your girls look like princesses. It was fun to see the styles of prom dresses of the girls in your area compared to the styles here in California. There is even a big style difference between Northern & Southern CA.

  31. karlapr says:

    Wow! Crazy, pretty, ridiculous, outlandish, spectacular snow…

  32. I LOVE that prom picture!

    I would probably be one of the ones who goes crazy up there. I thought winter would never leave us down here…and our version of winter amounts to one *maybe* two light dustings of snow.

  33. My kids went snow tubing over Easter break–I believe that’s a first for us. But spring arrived yesterday here and will come for you too. Great pictures!

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