Friday Five: Signs That Winter is Coming to a Close



With February coming to a close, we can begin to see signs of spring. Although the signs are different in different areas, this part of the world has a few of its own. The following are the ones I’ve observed recently:


  1. Commuting is now done during daylight hours. No longer do I travel country roads in the dark.
  2. Skunks are seen and smelled. Mostly this is due to wandering on the road, but generally, this critter doesn’t appear until the end of winter.
  3. The sounds of songbirds. There is nothing like the sound of a bird singing and a balmy breeze in February to make a person impatient for spring.
  4. Fluctuation in temperatures. Although this winter has had its ups and downs, the highs are higher as February draws to a close.
  5. Each snow storm that appears on the horizon is determined to be the “last one” of this winter. Of course, this is Michigan and while there are rumors of snow in July (I’ve never seen it), having snow on Mother’s Day is not far outside the realm of possibilities.

Are there any I missed? For myself, I look eagerly at each black feathered bird trying to see the red spots on the wings. Redwing blackbirds are often the first avian’s to arrive in this area, even before the more traditional Robins.

What are your favorite signs of spring?

Friday Five: January Favorites



January has little to offer. Here in Northern Michigan, the world is cold and white. There may be variations on this but only in shades. This year has been a little more interesting because of the ups and downs in the temperature but still, cold and white.

Even so, there are some good things about January:

1. Cold and snowy days – Yes, this is a good thing – if you get to stay home and watch it through the window, preferably curled up with a good book and a cup of coffee.

2. No major holidays to deal with – This is a favorite thing because the busy-ness that comes with the holidays is over. Life has settled down a bit.

3. Days have more light РThe days are growing longer although it is difficult to see. It may only be seconds but the warmth is coming back. In January, every little bit helps.

4. Soup – January is a perfect month for soups, simmered all day – for those cold, snowy days when you don’t have to go anywhere.

5. Warm socks – Staying warm and cozy is an actual goal during this month.

January is the time of the year is for hunkering down and getting through. Unless you like being outside for skiing, snowshoeing or other winter sport,¬†there isn’t much else.

Still, there is something to be said for the stillness. Winter is a time of rest and renewal. We all need it.