Sheltering- Date Picnic

Picture the perfect picnic. You carry the picnic basket to the blanket spread under the old oak tree. A slight breeze ripples the lake. When the food is taken out of the basket, there is fried chicken, potato salad, and brown beans. Lemonade, freshly squeezed is the liquid refreshment. A pair of swans swims by. After the picnic, you stroll beside the lake, on a smoothly maintained path.

If this is what you imagined, instead picture this. There is a wind, no lake, and the bush and grass is dry and brown. On some of the hills leaves are starting to appear. The back fender on the truck “touched” a post on the way in. No blanket but two folding chairs. A lunch bucket holds two chicken sandwiches, two apples, and a dill pickle. There is water or beer to drink. Two small dogs ramble about. After the simple repast, it’s off for the walk.

This was the last walk to look for antlers. Through the bush, our path is rough with fallen trees, branches, and shrubs that tug at your clothes. Scruff only weighs 10 pounds but he was game to find a way through, under, and around. Our total walk was about a mile but it felt like more. At one point, Gary said, “I don’t think we’ll find anything today.” (meaning antlers.)

I said, “I’m pretty sure I won’t. I have to watch my feet so I don’t fall on my butt.”

No antlers were found but back at the truck, we sat on our chairs and enjoyed the sun. I think I even got a little colour in my face. Taz, the Jack Russell, played with sticks and sniffed around. Scruff sat under the truck in the shade.

Not what you pictured as an afternoon picnic. Even Gary said, “That’s pretty wild land.” It was a good getaway, none the less. The temperature felt like spring, the fresh air piqued an appetite, and the walk demanded enough that I experienced a pleasant relaxation. A darn good picnic, after all.

Sheltering- An Alberta Covid Spring

And with a bang, a cold, windy spring season turns hot. The last two days have been warm and then today we hit 24 degrees Celcius in some places. Pussy willows and catkins are apparent on the trees. And there are crocuses. People are posting pictures and remarking on how they have never seen them so thick and beautiful. That’s not what happened to me…there was a camera issue. Sigh.

A picture from a few years back…nothing like what people are seeing this spring.

However, in my backyard, the haskaps have tender little green leaves. This is the third year since I planted them and it was last spring we were surprised to see they are the first to leaf out and the first to have pale yellow blossoms. The early bees LOVE them. They’re an indigenous plant but I have lived my whole life on the prairies without seeing them; last year when I posted a pictures a friend exclaimed, “Honeyberries.”

Haskap leaf…soon they’ll have blossoms.

On the dog walks, I found pussy willows. Soft and promising. The red-winged blackbirds called to one another in a kind of avian speed dating. Geese are paired up; grebes call one another. Robins are around and Gary whistled at one to see if Robbie, our winter robin had come to visit. Conclusion? Inconclusive.

This morning the crows my husband hates, were making soft, almost cooing sounds and the branches of the fir tree near their nest were shaking. ”Aww,” I said, “They’re making such a nice noise.”

“They’re screwing,” Gary said, in disgust.

Mood spoiler. It wasn’t the usual harsh crow caws so I like it anyway. Even with sheltering in and self isolation, the arrival of spring lifts your mood. Stay safe, everyone.