Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dancing with Baby

When Nikki Dee was born just over a year ago, we took a lot of little video clips with Cuppa's little point&shoot camera. The kids have a camcorder or whatever they're called now in the digital age, but the convenience of grabbing and quick, short clip with the normal camera means that it is seldom used. I remember when Cuppa and I spent a grand to purchase a tape-recorder video camera, but that has long since been gathering dust in the depths of the basement. Then YouTube came along and made it easy to share our clips with the world.

I say all of that in order to say something along with the video clip below in which The Bonnie Wee One and I are having a little dance to Big Ole Truck.


Our fantabulous weather appears to be over for the time being, and we are settling into more normal Spring temperatures — closer to 50°F rather than 75°F. What with the low temperature and cloud and wind, it was a might nippy when we headed over to be with Nikki Dee this morning. But it appears to be a bit sunnier now, and perhaps I'll get the little one out for a walk before the morning wanes.

The colds continue to hang on. In fact, mine has revived a bit after a day and a half when I was beginning to feel better. On the bright side, however, my throat isn't as sore, and I didn't cough last night. The night before was bad for coughing, and as a result I was up a lot. However, when I think of it, which isn't nearly as often as it should be, I try to practice Eckhardt Tolle's principal of being aware of the present. So, when I couldn't sleep, I refused to get frustrated or worry about being tired the next day. Instead I told myself that I simply wasn't sleeping but that I was comfortable. I tried to be aware of my bodily position and to sense comfort in it, and I think it helped.

Also, The Bonnie Wee One had a rather fine day yesterday not requiring the distraction of the electronic babysitter even once. Again, I tried to be present with her as much as possible. I walked with her when she wanted to and endeavoured to soak it the joy of holding her little hands because she won't require my assistance much longer. In truth she probably doesn't need it now, but she's a little too timid to let go. So, we walked a bit, danced a bit, and read a bit. She also entertained herself a lot too, and we had a real good day.

I hope you have a good day too.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Week Two Begins

Here we are, back at Thesha's house, beginning our second week of child care. Grampa is starting to feel better, but Grandma is still lagging a bit. The baby loves to dance, and I've just been tiring myself out because I seem to have to do all of the work. ;) And once we start, she doesn't ever want to stop. She does love it though.

Meanwhile, here are two more photos from last week. In the first she is beginning to love herself in the mirror.

Whee! It's Me!

We took the next while on a little road trip with her the other day. It's terribly cute, don't you think?


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Baby Walking

My life seems to be taking on a certain theme.

My personal favourite.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Foto Friday

On a day when I've had enough of this blasted two-week cold, I post these daffodils pics. I'm not particularly happy with them, but I'm not particularly happy with anything right now. This cold began two weeks ago today, and although it's not really a cold anymore, it is still a sore throat and a cough and a run-over-by-a-truck sort of feeling. A few days ago I thought I had turned the corner, but if I did so it was only to face into a stiff with accompanied by hail and sleet. This affliction seems to cycle and recycle with all of -- Cuppa, Nikki Dee, and Thesha. I'd be mighty pleased for it to make a final exit.

Successors to the Croci

Successors to the Croci

Successors to the Croci

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mostly Five Things

I noticed this in draft mode as an unpublished post. I'm not sure who I got it from, but I'm sure I grabbed it because the meme is much like me — simple!, and so it works for me when I am lazier than usual. Sometimes, I have supplied more than the allotted number, but I think we can all live with that. Go ahead and grab the meme if you're so inclined and/or like me, you're fresh out of material. (Why we say "fresh out" I don't know. Why is out "fresh"? Why not stale?)


Teaching geography to the boys and girls of Lambton County and being loved deeply by all of them for my troubles.

  1. Anything salty, like potato chips
  2. Anything sweet and sugary, like a donut
  3. Anything chocolaty, like a chocolate bar
  4. Cookies
  5. Ice Cream


A billion is far too much for me to contemplate, but I can tell you what I wouldn't do. I wouldn't buy myself a Boeing 707, and I wouldn't try to upgrade my social status because I don't consider it real upgrading. Give me real people any ole time.

Let's just say that if I won an ordinary, little lottery of a few million bucks, I'd split it with the kids, keep enough to be financially secure and do some fun things, like travel without being on a shoestring budget. Depending on the absolute size of the windfall, all extra would go to good places, but it wouldn't all be distributed before I passed on.


  1. Caddy
  2. Newspaper delivery person
  3. Production Clerk
  4. Maintenance worker
  5. Teacher
  6. Education Officer in a provincial election office


  1. I can be unassertive and too laid back
  2. I can procrastinate
  3. I tend to be overly reactive to bad behaviour in others, primarily because it bothers me to see people wasting their lives in petty stupidity
  4. I drink far too much Diet Coke


  1. Gananoque
  2. Montreal (the only one of these location not in Ontario)
  3. Mississauga (Cooksville)
  4. Guelph
  5. London
  6. Sarnia
That's it!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Good Day

As we begin day2 of our babysitting adventure, we have turned on the electronic babysitter for a while to free up some computing time. So, as day2 unfolds, here are some photos from day1.

Nikki Dee's first order of business was to try to unplug my computer.

So, I decided to distract her by reading her a book. It worked too ... for a while at least.

Next on the list was a short walk on a fine, sunny morning. Much to her delight, I pushed her around several blocks for ten or fifteen minutes. Too bad the weather isn't as enticing today.

In the afternoon, after a nap and lunch,we walked her further to the park.

Then we freed her from her stroller and let her stretch her own legs for quite some time. She doesn't walk on her own yet. Her strength is good, but her balance isn't quite there yet.

The river is flooding over some of the park. We normally continue to walk along this path but were prevented yesterday. I had hoped that she would like the geese, but they were a little too far away to attract her attention.

All in all, it was a good day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Do you notice how sometimes things seem to remain fairly static for quite some time while at other times, the winds of change blow very strongly? Not long ago, I was posting pictures of snow, but very shortly afterwards, I was posting photos of crocuses like the ones below.

Last Wonders ...

Subdued Wonder

I love crocuses, more than any other flower I think, not only for their beauty but because they are, for me, they are the firstborn of spring. Also, their time is so short that I must take the necessary moments to truly appreciate them while they flower.

Of course, they're gone already, and the daffodils are taking their turn. While I also greatly admire and appreciate these blooms, they don't move me quite as much as the lowly crocus. Mind you, I'm sure chuffed that they're here and blooming their sunny hearts out.

The weather has changed dramatically too. In these parts, it seems as though we've gone straight from winter to summer with no pause for spring. Today, for example, the mercury climbed to an incredible 25°C/77°F. It's not that we never soar to such lofty heights in April, but this has been going on for about an unprecedented five days already, and we're promised several more after tomorrow's rain. Perhaps it's our recompense for one hellacious winter.

There was yet another significant shift today as Thesha headed back to work after her year of government-sponsored reprieve in order to take care of The Bonnie Wee One. And that also brought about a big change for Cuppa and me as we stepped into our new role as primary daycare providers.

So it was that we roused ourselves early and landed in Nikki Dee's royal lair by 7:30 to find that she was already up and at 'em. She doesn't usually rise quite that early, but yesterday was inoculation day, and although her tiny system has handled it quite well for the most part, her little body has been thrown off kilter just a wee bit.

But we had a grand day. I'm sure that this commitment will be a trial by times, but it's also quite an honour and privilege to help Thesha and Theboy like this and to spend such precious hours with her youthful majesty. Tomorrow, Cuppa will probably post many pictures in her usual and wonderful storybook way, and I will probably also post a few — but not tonight, for the old grandad is a little weary for some strange reason.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Foto Friday

Once again, it's Foto Friday. I said there would be more crocus pics, and just to prove that I'm not a liar ...

More Wonders

More Wonders

Spring Wonders

I guess this has to be the very last photo of the receding Anvilcloud glacier. It's all but gone now and will be completely melted long before the sun sets today. Aside from showing you one final shot of the glacier, I thought it clever to juxtapose snow and me in shorts in the same photo. Yes, it was that warm here yesterday. Once summer arrives, it's shorts and tees for me. Do you see the tulip plants? Nikki Dee does. They almost that tall under the snow two days ago. I know because I decapitated a few while trying to uncover them.

Nikki Dee visited while mom was attending to errands; she was her usual charming self ...

... and made a new friend.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Midweek Medley

I had intended to write and post this last night when it was still midweek by my standards, but by then I had totally run out of steam. After uploading just one photo, I gave it up as a lost cause. So, I'll write it today and half pretend that it's still Wednesday.

Cold and Sleep: This has to be the worst and most stubborn cold of all time. On Monday night I tried the Vicks on the feet and nose thing that some of you recommended, and I regretfully report that this remedy helped me not one iota. Therefore, little sleep was obtained.

But it got worse on the next night, Tuesday. I went out to purchase some cough and sinus medication. It turned out to be a most horrid idea, or at least the execution of the idea was wretched. I bought daytime medication, thinking that I wouldn't need anything to help me sleep. Bad mistake: although the meds worked well to relieve the cold symptoms, I was wired all night and got very little sleep — again!

Last night, I did get some nighttime medication and slept much better, and this morning, I went back on the daytime stuff. After a week, my throat remains sore, my head continues to be stuffed, and the coughing abates not.

Breakfast Out: But I had reserved Wednesday morning to take Thesha out for lunch. In effect, it was my last opportunity before she goes back to work next week. Since Cuppa has been sick too, we had decided to take Nikki Dee with us rather than ask Cuppa to babysit. Then, during my sleepless night, I realized that it would not be nice to leave Cuppa home alone, so the Father-Daughter breakfast for two became an outing for four.

We went to Temple's Sugar Bush and had a great breakfast, or at least I did. For me, it may have been the best breakfast out since we arrived in The Valley. Back in Sarnia, the Smitty's was great and where we'd head every now and then, but, although there are adequate breakfast places around here, they don't quite measure up to that Smitty's. And perhaps Temple's isn't quite in that league either, but yesterday's meal was really, really good, and I was glad that the four of us were out together.

Here is a photo of Thesha and me at the restaurant. Maybe you can tell that we have dipped into a similar gene pool? She's had a great year off from work to give The Bonnie Wee One a wonderful start in life, but now it's time for her to head back to the daily grind. I'm very proud of her; she is a fantastic mother and a great human being.

Shirkingly Great: Which brings me the next and final inclusion for this Midweek Medley. And that has to do with D#2, or Althegal, or Bat, whichever you prefer. She's the one on the west coast working on her MA. She was granted a wonderful scholarship to cover this year but applied for a SSHRC (pronounced shirk) scholarship for next year. This is a highly prestigious award and very difficult to obtain. When it is granted, it is usually for PhD students. Well, the girl called the other night to inform us that she had been chosen for this scholarship, and that it will cover her school expenses and many of her living expenses next year.

My two daughters walk very different paths in life, which is how it should be, and they are both amazing people. Althegal is the one who physically displays the genetic material from Cuppa's side. However, I like how one perspicacious friend put in many years ago: Thesha looks like John but acts like Cuppa; Althegal looks like Cuppa but acts like John. Phew! They were both able to overcome some of their paternal liability with traits that come from Mom.

I posted this picture of Althegal et moi last year, just before we went out for breakfast (we're a breakfasty bunch, I guess), this one a Fathers Day brekky, overlooking English Bay in Vancouver. She and Puff had just given me that jaunty chapeau and I wore it proudly that day and have worn it a lot since. Isn't she a sweetie? Perhaps you can tell that I was a little teary-eyed for that photo; it was so emotional to be with the daughter that I see less on that special day.

Congratulations Kid!!!

Day 12

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sensing, Thinking, Judging

Click to view my Personality Profile page

As if there was ever any doubt, we have confirmed that I am an introvert but perhaps not quite as rigidly so as the 100% result from the quiz indicates. Apparently, I am also (i) sensing vs intuitive, (ii) thinking vs feeling, and (iii) judging vs perceiving. It is true, though, that the results in these categories is much more even with less that a 60-40 split in the first two areas and not much more than 60-40 in judging vs. perceiving.

Sensing vs Intuitive: One who senses is more practical, concrete and realistic whereas the intuit is imaginative, abstract and theoretical. Actually it's more than these traits, but I have chosen ones that I think were influential in placing me in the sensors category and keeping me out of intuition side. Supposedly, however, a true S tends to focus on details while I think that I tend to see the general picture. In that regard, I think I am more of an I, and it probably explains why the test declares me fairly close to the border line.

Thinking vs Feeling: This was very close to an even split, and when I look at the traits I find myself leaning toward the feeling side of the ledger, for I can identify with dislikes conflict, gentle, empathetic, and caring. But I can be fairly logical, rational and critical (meant in the academic sense as opposed to being critical of others, I trust), which probably nudged the results, ever so slightly, over to the thinking side. Possibly, on any random day, I'd get a different result in this category.

Judging vs Perceiving: I am pegged somewhat firmly at a judger because I tend to be good at finishing, organized, structured, scheduled, and I am responsible. However, I'm not over the top in any of those areas; there are certainly people who are a lot better at structure and scheduling than I am, for example. Also, I can certainly procrastinate like a true perceiver, and also like them, I tend to be adaptable and relaxed, and I like to keep my options open.

So there you have it; I am an ISTJ, an Examiner. I am definitely an Introvert but less definitively a Sensing, Thinking and Judging sort of guy. However, the site's synopsis of my ISTJ type seems pretty accurate: ISTJs are responsible, loyal and hard working. They have an acute sense of right and wrong and work hard at preserving established norms and traditions. Because of their deep sense of duty they are dedicated to everything they do and are very dependable. ISTJs care deeply for those closest to them.

This additional descriptor seems to fit me closely as well: While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun - especially at family or work-related gatherings. And there's also this: at work, ISTJs get things done on a timely basis. They honor deadlines, and they believe in thoroughness. A half-finished joy is not a job well done. As long as they can fulfil their responsibilities, they feel useful and thereby satisfied ... Their work does not have to be fun, but it has to count toward something productive.

I hereby request that the rest of the family to go to mypersonality.info and take the quiz. It doesn't take long and might provide grist for discussion at some future gathering of the clan.

Gotta Love 'Em

Thesha's crocuses are better than ever this year. You can bet that I'll be posting more before they're done ... which will be all too soon.

Spring Wonders

Spring Wonders

Spring Wonders

Monday, April 14, 2008

The I of ISJT

It's official; I'm an ISTJ — Introverted-Sensing-Thinking-Judging —because personality.info has told me so. I've been meaning to take the test for years but alway found a reason to demure, mainly, I suspect, because the site wants you to register in order to take this little quiz and get the results. You see, I had been there previously, maybe more than once, but was off-put by this requirement. Finally, however, after KGMom's recent piece, I decided to forge ahead, regardless. What I found wasn't a particularly stunning revelation. I mean to say, one should know oneself fairly well after dwelling on this blue planet for six decades. I've posted the results are below and will ruminate upon them further down.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

By George, I really am an introvert!! That's no surprise but the degree to which they have me pegged might give one pause. However, I could pretty well tell whenever they were asking an introvert/extravert (sic: they say extravert rather than extrovert) question. When there's only two choices, however, I found myself having to chose the inny response every time: hence the 100%. But that might leave the impression that I am a total recluse, fit only to dwell on a mist-shrouded mountain top, and such is not quite the case.

However, when I regard the list of introvert traits, it's just about bang on, so the test must be pretty darn accurate: energized by time alone; private; keeps to self; quiet; deliberate; internally aware; fewer friends; prefer smaller groups; independent; not socially inclined; enjoys solitude; thinks before speaking. My main caveat would be the part about enjoying solitude. To some degree it's true, and I suspect more so with me than many others, but I also like to have my loved ones around. A few hours of solitude manages to fill my need for alone time quite well, thank you very much. Mind you, when Cuppa and I are together in the house, we each tend to be off doing our one thing, so that's a type of solitude. However, I do find it comforting to know that she's there and that I can find her and greet her as often as my little heart desires. Which is sometimes quite often. Oddly enough that need for contact is more true for me than it is for her, who is supposedly more extraverted.

I think I'll stop there today and perhaps get back to the S, J and T in a subsequent post. Meanwhile, if you're new here, I have blogged about introversion previously: Introversion, and I'm an Innie. There may be some halfway useful information in those posts if you happen to be interested in this topic.


Finally the clock struck five and I could permit myself to get up for the day.

It was another un-fun night, perhaps worse than the previous two. Much hacking, spluttering, watering from the eyes, and leaking from the nose rendered the night one that I was glad to see the back of. I don't suppose that the aforementioned symptoms are worse than their daytime counterparts, but they seem so much more annoying whilst horizontal in the stillness.

I spent intervals trying to sleep on the LazyBoy in an attempt to keep my head higher and my nose drier than in bed, and I suppose that position helped some but not enough. One difficulty about sleeping (if you can call it that) so lightly is that one wants to change positions frequently, but when one rolls over, it takes the sinuses a good ten minutes to shift themselves to open the top nostril. In the interim one must and wipe around the nose frequently and breathe through the mouth if one wants to live to see morning .

So, as I begin the fourth day with this humdinger of a cold, I have yet to turn the corner that presages its diminution. Cuppa is still quietly horizontal; perhaps she'll feel better once she awakes. She's been forced to remain horizontal for most of the past sixty hours. As I mentioned yesterday, this bug is having opposite effects on the two of us. She can't get comfortable out of bed, and I can't get comfortable in bed.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


It doesn't take long for big changes to occur at this time of year.

I wasn't planning to blog the snow pile again, but I have had a special request for an update. Remember how large it looked just nine days ago?

Here it is today.

Although I helped Mother Nature along as best I could by continuing to throw some of it back onto the driveway to speed up the melting process, it was a mild week that caused most of the shrinkage. Most of the week was sunny and warmish; it went up to about 60°F one day. Then yesterday's rain washed more away. I wonder how long it will take to melt the rest of the pile? Supposedly, it is going to be yet another fab week.

Also, it was just one week ago that I removed the snow from atop these crocuses.

Here's what they look like today. It's a cool, windy day so they're choosing not to open, but they're present and colourful. I'll try to get some better pictures this week. Although they always look the same I take new crocus pictures every year; I can't seem to help myself.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blame The Bonnie Wee One

Cuppa and I are both sick with colds. Bad colds. Except for a very minor skirmish or two, we escaped the whole, dreadfully long winter and its concomitant germ attacks, but our luck has turned now that spring is here.

The Bonnie Wee One caught it first, then Mom, and finally gramma and grampa. Of course if Nikki Dee were to catch something, we'd almost be sure to fall ill also because ... well because we do tend to get close. Besides, this was a fast one, and we were all contaminated before we knew enough to take evasive action. After being out all day on Friday, I came in the house moaning and groaning that I was sick. Not to be outdone, Cuppa moaned and groaned ... and coughed and spluttered right back at me. So, no sympathy for the old guy.

But we sure react to colds differently. Cuppa hit the sack at about 7:30 on Friday evening and slept most of Saturday away. I don't seem to sleep any more ill than I do healthy. Sometimes, I think it's even less. I remember once getting very sick and mentioning this to the doctor, and he replied with great conviction that I would sleep as a result of the meds that he was prescribing. Unfortunately, he was wrong.

We are both on Cold FX for the first time ever. I don't know how it works because you can't cure the common cold after all, but both of us seem to feel less laid low than in other instances. Well, I know Cuppa has been doing a lot of low-lying, but she does claim to feel not too miserable when she does manage to venture out from under the covers. And I felt good enough to drive out to orchestra practice and felt more or less with it during.

Not that any of you requested a blow-by-blow account of our afflictions, but I did want to pause to observe how two people's bodies can react so differently. Now it's time for grampa to see if he can get some rest. It is after eleven o'clock after all. It shouldn't be too much for a sick man to ask for a decent night's rest. Eh?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Foto Friday

Above: Cuppa bounces NikkiDee on her knees and sings Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross. To the kid's great joy, we both do this with her from time to time. There's a word in there that doesn't sit too well with some of the aunties, but that's how the rhyme goes, and so that's how we both sing it. She shows her joy with big smiles, but we never seem to be able to capture them on camera, so this will have to suffice for the nonce.

Below: Whilst travelling through the city the other day, we chanced upon this sign, and Cuppa managed to snap a photo before the light turned. Check out the phone number.

Finally, here are two more butterfly photos. I like the first because it shows the nearer butterfly better and the second because it shows the further one better. Which is to say that the perfect butterfly photo eludes me.



Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Trying ...

I was on the phone last night when Cuppa handed me this note.

At the time, I wasn't feeling that I was actually close to achieving Sainthood, but I was trying my darnedest to be patient and understanding.

You see, Val called for the second time this week. For quite a long time I tried to walk her around her computer looking for Outlook Express, so that she could try to write an email. Eventually, I had to throw in the towel. I didn't want to; I wanted to help, but we were getting nowhere.

You see, Val is legally blind and what she wants to do — which is use the computer — is extremely difficult for her, even with accessibility options enabled and a very expensive voice recognition program installed. Extremely difficult. About as difficult as it can possibly be.

Before her stroke, seven years ago (I think it was), she was a typing wiz and also spent a lot of time on her computer and helping others on theirs. Then the stroke occurred. It affected her brain and her sight. She desperately wants to be able to use the computer again, but she is constantly thwarted and has been for seven years. At first she tried to work with and then update her old system by purchasing a new large monitor, but she still couldn't make it work. Then, she bought another new system but had it taken away again after more frustration. Now she is trying again with yet another new system.

I have tried to help in the past when we were somewhat closer and could visit on occasion, but I could never help enough. What she needs is someone with a fair bit of knowledge on how to meet her particular and significant needs to sit with her for however long it takes. She requires a knowledgeable person in both computers and her handicap to patiently mentor her through all of the hurdles, but that kind of help just doesn't seem to exist. I don't think anyone near her meets both sets of qualifications or else they don't have the time and/or patience. And then Val gets impatient and starts fiddling with the machine on her own trying to sort through the foggy maze and quite possibly messes things up even more.

I try to be patient when she calls because I really want to help her but I get frustrated not by her but my inability to truly aid her. We spend a good long time going round in circles trying this solution and that, but in the end we have nothing to show for our efforts. I need to at least try to do this for her, though. She has been a good friend and would have been the first to help me if the situation had been reversed. But we're quite a geographical distance from Val now, not just two short hours as we used to be and we haven't seen her in more than two years. The thing is, even if I were there, it would be difficult for me to work with her special accessibility requirements and the programs that she has to assist her (but which don't actually seem to help her much at all) because I am simply not familiar with these options and programs.

Sigh. I really hope that someone can help her. I wish I could do better. She must be so darn frustrated, and I feel for her.

Moi, the Chatterbox

I was pleasantly surprised the other day when ChrisB at Ms Cellania passed this award on to me. I hadn't particularly thought of myself as being a sociable chatterbox, but I am pleased to think that some folk might find Anvilcloud's Raindrops a comfy place to visit.

Over time, I seem to have become a more surfacey blogger than I once was. I post more general stuff about my days and doings and fewer perceptive thoughts. When you've written about a thousand posts, here and elsewhere, I think it gets like that — more chatty and less perspicacious. That's okay. And it is also more than okay to receive a Good Chat Blog Award. Thanks Chris.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Where are the Worms?

Just a Robin

Cuppa noticed this robin sitting in our tree yesterday morning. We were downstairs and our cameras were upstairs, but the bird continued to sit patiently while I took the time to change to my telephoto lens. I took pictures from both upstairs and downstairs, and still she remained. She was probably too stunned to move and consumed with wondering where the heck the worms and and berries could possibly be.

The top version is with normal, minimal post processing. In the bottom version, I really boosted the contrast and saturation.

Just a Robin

A Little Something for Janet

I know it's not much good int his size, but here it is anyway.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On the March ... in April

It was a glorious weekend. For quite a while on Sunday afternoon, we sat out on Thesha's porch. It was sheltered and it direct sunlight, and I actually got hot, just in my shirt and no jacket. But I refused to move and soaked it up as much as possible. Days such as this occur early in every spring, often earlier than this, and it can hurt when the weather reverts, but I still enjoy it whilst I can.

I removed some snow cover from Thesha's little garden and found crocus plants sticking out. I love crocuses. They're tiny but incredibly beautiful and so full of promise.

When I checked back with them a little later, the snow had completely melted back from around the plants. Spring is on the march.