Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Define spring

27 Comments

The calendar says winter is over. But those of us living in Michigan, and I suspect, other northern states know better than to trust a date on the calendar. Around here we look for more definite signs that spring is poking around and considering hanging out with us for awhile.

For me robins bouncing around in my front yard is hopeful, but not really true evidence of the season changing; we’ve been known to have them stop by in the middle of winter. In fact I think I have a picture somewhere of a very disgruntled robin sitting in my heated birdbath during an icy snowstorm.

Gotta get your bath in when you can.

Up here it’s not really spring until I’ve hear the red-winged blackbird’s cry. It’s a distinctive sound, one you can’t confuse for anything else. That’s why I was grinning last week, because the blackbirds were robustly announcing their arrival. This week they are busy daily cleaning out my bird feeder, they must not have stopped anywhere for lunch on their trek home to me.

Singing for his supper.

Then there are my goldfinches. Though many hang around all year the bright yellow males turn to an olive green in the winter. And in the spring they start sprouting patches of brilliant yellow again, a heralding of sorts that warm spring days aren’t far away.

It’s starting to get yellow around here.

This week the goldfinches are turning a decided yellow. I’ve been hanging out by the windows just watching them power eat thistle seed. Every day there seems to be more yellow showing.

Do you have any more food in there lady?

Some of them have turned almost totally yellow already. Proof positive that winter is losing it’s hold over us, even though it snowed again today.

Can’t hide my colors now!

Daffodils are pushing up from the cold ground. I saw buds on a bush yesterday. The limbs of the forsythia bush seem to have a golden glow though there are no blossoms or even buds yet.

I’m not so gullible to think it’s time to till the garden or plant those annuals yet. Way too early up here. And I know that every year we have a significant snowfall in April.

What do you mean this isn’t the last of the snow?

But I also know that last snow won’t need shoveling because it will melt by mid afternoon. And the sun will grow warmer and finally, finally the frogs will begin to peep.

And then it will be spring.

More evidence.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

27 thoughts on “Define spring

  1. I love the birds. Great harbingers of spring. So funny, where we stayed in wickenburg at my friends she had tons of goldfinch.

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    • We have a ton too. My mom, down in Alabama only saw them in the winter when they were green. When they had disappeared for the season she always told me she was sending them back up to me. But here in Michigan I have them all year so I doubt hers came all the way back up here.

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  2. I learn so much about birds from all of you who have bird feeders. I tried that one year and squirrels broke through the screen in my porch and sat on the table, eating birdseed out of the bag. That was the end of that! I have never seen goldfinches around here but I love their announcement about spring–that beautiful shade of yellow. Katie–your mama ended just right–with a photo of glorious you!

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    • I think squirrels must have a really good sense of smell. We keep our birdfeed in a metal garbage can with a lid held down by a bungie cord. The squirrels chew through the bungie cord regularly. Also they sit on top of it and try to figure out how to get the cover off the can. So they definitely know there’s food in there. You could probably do birdfeeder again if you have the extra feed somewhere they can’t get to.

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  3. Looks like you have a good start on Spring. I am glad your katie is feeling better!

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  4. I must admit, I never knew goldfinches lost their yellow over winter.

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  5. I want some goldfinches I have never seen those here. I am hoping for you and Katie spring will be there sooner than later. For us our temps are up and sunshine came this week. LOVE IT! Today is a high of 74 tomorrow is 77 and Monday is 80…

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  6. Wonderful reminders about nature being the real calendar!

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  7. Red-winged blackbird cries go with peepers for me: both are pond sounds. But I never noticed the goldfinches growing yellower in the spring! You have enlightened me, Dawn! Thanks!

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  8. Nice pictures, Dawn! I heard rumors that the robins were sighted in the Lower; have been hoping they’re smart enough not to come too far north yet. We did see our first goldfinches yesterday. They are not bright yellow yet. Did not know about the red-winged blackbird–thank you!

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  9. Glad to see you wrote a new post. I was wondering if you could type because you had hurt your wrists. We have a lot of the same birds here in SE Iowa. I especially like the goldfinches. They like the seeds from the hyssop we have growing in the yard. Did you take your photos with your phone or with a camera? I just posted an article on my blog about tips for the iPhone as a camera. I’m looking forward to my first camping trip and a chance to try out a few new tricks!
    https://www.greengoddessglamping.com/2019/03/6-ways-of-using-iphone-when-camping.html

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    • I’ll go read it. I am still wearing splints most of the time. It’s been 2 weeks today. I hope to be out of them permanently soon, but for now my hands start to ache if I’m not wearing them. 😦

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  10. Very glad that spring has progressed this far in Michigan! We seem to be significantly behind you in northwestern Minnesota! Even so, you’re right. There are definite markers that signal the beginning of spring! The Canada geese returned last week; and Friday, trumpeters swans were resting again on frozen ponds. Mallards and blue-winged teal have taken residence on a river that opened two weeks ago. Humans pulled out folding chairs on Saturday and sat outside in the sun…the temp was 37, but the sun was decidedly the 23rd of March. We have a couple of feet of snowpack, but each day it shrinks. Your open lawn and daffodils photographs are tantalizing reminders of what’s still to come! Hope your wrists are on the mend!

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    • I used to tell my mom and dad, who had moved to Alabama, that they couldn’t appreciate spring nearly as much as those of us living in the north. And I think you guys up there in MN will appreciate spring, when it gets there, even more than we do here! You’ve had a heck of a winter!

      My wrists are still very sore, I am wearing splints most of the time, but not for typing. So…I guess it’s time to stop and get them back on. Sigh. Hoping by next week not to have to wear them at all. We will see.

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  11. I love that cheery yellow on those birdies! We’re riding the Struggle Bus, too, when it comes to seeing signs of Spring. Yes, we have Robins, some of the early-bloomers (daffodils, mostly) are pushing leaves through, and even some trees are budding; but our weather keeps fluctuating between cold and somewhat warmer, between gray and diffused sun. And the winds keep racing across the prairie. It will get here … just not as fast as I’d like!

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    • It’s NEVER as fast as we’d like! Wish I had read your blog post about your concert sooner, maybe I would have been able to come down for it. It must have been really fun to play!

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      • It was and I learned so much, too. Not just from playing the music, but about space back in the day. I hadn’t realized so many folks gave their lives to further the cause of space exploration.

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  12. Love the bird bath, and the gold finches! We hardly see small birds here, except the hummingbird and the wood pecker, blue jays and the bigger birds like vultures are flying over pretty regularly. It’s probably because of the altitude 3000 feet, and the deer are the gang of the neighborhood (forest), many squirrels, and foxes.
    Read your little blurb about your history – so sorry about having to go back to your old job, at at least you have one! How did you find me?

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