March Break: ice penguins, mud and other things

muddy land in springtime
If you need someone else to pity and feel sorry for in order to take your mind off your own troubles, look no further than my household. It's March. The beginning of the season of mud. A new house means no grass, nothing to mitigate against the mud. This little "bridge" of boards is our pathetic attempt to create a barrier between us and the mud that will surround us in the coming weeks. We have great plans for cheering on grass seed, but the reality is that we're going to be awash in mud, taller because of the mud, cursing the mud.

March Break began with gushing waters. Our land is largely a former river valley and it still has two streams running through it. That sounds lofty; one is a municipal ditch if we’re going to get technical. It’s a stream, but we share it with the municipality! Anyway, all this means that at this time of the year there is a lot of “squelch, squerch” when you walk, which totally brings back readings of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with my boys when they were little. One week ago the waters were madly rushing through and it was a great time to race boats on the streams. This week it just means puddles and boggy bits all over the place. And the mud, yes the mud. But there are wonders in that there mud.

penguin formed out of ice
This piece of ice was found as my husband, my youngest and I were doing an end-of-day inspection of a former vegetable field. I looked down and couldn't quite believe it. I chivvied my husband to hurry up already so that we could get up to the house for a photo or two, because I can never remember the damn camera (as my nearly eight-year old kept reminding me as we walked back up the hill). Maybe it's because we had just finished watching "Surf's up" earlier in the day, but we all swore it looked just like a penguin with a wannabe-wingspan, right down to the opaque ice patch for the tummy. The sunset shot turned out well!

That find and our end of day walk made for a nice ending to a day that had started with a windy walk into town and a delicious brunch with the boys’ beloved auntie Jocy, complete with a couple of intense rounds of Uno. The Uno games spilled over into today and, weirdly, the youngest son keeps winning even though no one has been helping him to do so. Everyone is swearing that they won’t be helping him anymore when we play board or card games!

boys throwing snowballs
It was a March Break filled with baking (including chocolate roulade made twice by my older son, which can't be good for us, but darn it was good!), books, movies (at home and at the cinema - go "Rango"!), more unpacking and tidying in the basement, visits with family and friends and it was too short. An impromptu snowball fight on a walk around our land with friends on Thursday was definitely a highlight for the boys. (Drinking wine and chatting long into the evening was the highlight for the parents!)

This March Break ends with the following lined up in my unkempt but relaxed mind:

1. I think we can finally say that we’re done “unpacking”, but we’re still early on in the “organizing”. That feels better than it sounds. I’ve stopped having random thoughts along the lines of “why haven’t we found the ‘such and such’ yet…?” and “I’m sure I remember packing the mortar and pestle” (I did pack it and it did turn up yesterday, finally).

2. We didn’t get anywhere near our bikes this week, when we actually had the beginnings of nice cycling weather, but we’ve finally cleared the way to organize the garage and with that the bikes. Bike riding and planning bike rides including late spring bike camping is way up the list and within grasp now. We’re all talking about it, which is always a really good sign. (I still cannot get over how stuffed full of rubbish our garage is and we’ve never had one before!)

3. Reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder again with my youngest was probably not a good idea, as much as we enjoyed it. The constant reminders that Almonzo was able to skip school in favour of helping out on the farm have done nothing to help in encouraging my son that going back to school tomorrow will, in fact, be a good thing.

4. There will be mud. Yes, there will be mud in my future, lots of it, and you’d do well to steer clear until we have a lovely, springy lawn on which to welcome you.

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