We are in the midst of Vermont’s fifth season – mud season. There are hundreds of miles of dirt roads around the state and every year we wait for the frost in the ground to depart as the air temperatures warm. That intermediate time plays havoc with our vehicles as deep ruts on the dirt roads’ surface pulls our cars back and forth out of our control as we keep enough speed not to be left in a slough of mud. As much as we complain it is often a time of optimism. The snow starts to recede under more direct sunlight and sugarhouses all over the area turn another year’s harvest of abundant sap into syrup. A visit to the sugarhouse is like a visit to a greenhouse in the middle of winter. Sugarhouse air is steamy, warm and sweet so you get the benefit of a facial and a low calorie treat just by being inside. Good visiting takes place as neighbors catch up while watching the wood fires burn as the sap boils down.
Brent has been watching for signs of spring as well and saw his first redwinged blackbird on the way to the house from the barn the other day. It was sitting at the top of a tree just looking around. “Oh come on!” Brent cried, ” Can’t you do better than that?” The bird considered a moment then let out a spring trill. Yes, we’re all in agreement. It’s time for spring to come.