As I walk down the street, bundled up in my scarf, hat, gloves and three additional layers underneath my coat, I notice a robin bop bop bopping along in a neighbor's yard.
Yippee, I spotted the first robin of the season! Surely, this means spring has sprung.
Never mind that upon closer inspection it appears that the robin has frozen to the ground, soon there will be sunshine, flowers and green grass.
Thank god, warm weather is coming! I can't stand wearing five layers of clothes. Soon I can ditch the thermal socks and long underwear for shorts and T-shirts.
I look forward to packing away the snow blower and getting the cooler out for picnics at the beach!
Uhm, I had better not get too excited, this is Wisconsin and winter could conceivable last until July. I still remember the snowstorm we had on May 15th a few years ago.
Although, it does look promising, even though it is still cold out, or at least I think it is still cold out, it is warm enough to melt the snow.
Oh crap, the snow is melting.
That means soon the protective white blanket that covered my yard all these months will disappear and reveal things I would prefer to remain hidden.
Huh? You want to know what kinds of things are lurking under the snow?
Oh, nothing too terrible, just things like the giant pile of leaves that I didn't get raked up last fall.
I tried to keep up with the leaves, really, I did, but they kept coming and coming. I fell behind and then the snow fell and covered them. It was a case of out of sight, out of mind.
You see when the snow covered them it was so easy to pretend it was just a five foot hummock in the yard.
Now thanks to the thaw there is no disguising the fact that it is a rotting pile of foliage.
I must admit I am very disheartened that while I slept no magical yard elves came and removed all the left over leaves and other detritus from my yard.
Just like Cinderella, or some other fairytale character, I deserve a loyal band of woodland creatures that are more then happy to rake my lawn, in exchange for snacks.
Unfortunately, I have no forest creatures willing to do my yard work for me. I don't know why, I wouldn't even require them to whistle while they worked.
This forces me to single handedly contend with a giant slab of petrified leaves that covers the lower half of my yard.
As I attempt to scrape up the leaves, I hear the sound of a demented woodpecker drumming on the tree in our yard.
His constant rat-tat-tatting lends a certain rhythm to my raking, drum-drum, rake-rake, and so it goes for the afternoon.
Still I wonder what exactly the woodpecker hopes to get from the tree.
Since it has been warm and sunny for about 1.5 days, one can only assume that the bugs remain frozen in the tree.
I imagine they are the bug equivalent of Han Solo encased in carbonite. With that in mind, I can't picture how the woodpecker plans to get the bugs out of the tree.
Oh well, that is his problem not mine.
Mine is trying to clear the garden with out resorting to a flamethrower or bomb.
I am impressed, after a few hours of raking; the yard goes from looking like spring thaw at the landfill to a typical fall scene. Never mind that it is spring.
Finally, I am done and piles of leaves dot the yard. It sure would be nice if I had some way to get rid of the leaves, besides the old rake them in a pile and hope the wind blows them into the neighbor's yard method.
I suppose I can stuff them in bags and haul them to the recycling center. It would be so much easier if the city just came along and sucked them up. Alas, they don't.
I begin stuffing soggy, moldy leaves into giant black garbage bags, which I then line up like soldiers in front of my garage, because the leaf-recycling center is only open on Saturdays.
Why the recycling center wouldn't be open during the week, especially after the snow melts remains a mystery to me. Apparently, the other residents of my town are much better at getting their yard ship shape before winter then I am.
I am hoping that if I leave out a nice mix of snacks the woodland creatures will come and haul my bags of leaves away.
Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.
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