Enjoying springtime
April 13, 2015
by Jenni Sebora

Spring is here – at least officially – and that is a start.

Actually, we have had some nice weather days with a mix of temperature and weather conditions. This keeps us hopping. Do we keep the snow shovels and blowers out, or prep the lawn mower?

We have done both. In fact, we recently purchased a long overdue new riding lawn mower – John Deere at that. My older brother, who lives next door, is so happy he will be seeing a green machine moving across our lawn. It’s zero-turn, too. It will be like a toy to us.

I love this time of year. I like the mix of weather, and, of course, the fresh air.

My husband, youngest daughter, and I have been out several times playing catch with the softball. In fact, we were just out last night. As we were throwing the ball around, a huge flock of blackbirds flew above us and landed on the adjacent field – I am sure, to eat whatever is left over from last year’s fall harvest.

Then, of course, we spotted a few robins. I hadn’t noticed any robins, and then all of a sudden, I saw several. I understand their hesitancy. They know they are in Minnesota, where anything can happen.

We live in the country, so there are opportunities to hear and observe many of nature’s gifts.

Next, a gopher ran by. Now, gophers are not critters I am very fond of, but I kept my softball in hand and just watched it scurry across the lawn looking for the first hole it could duck into.

Peck. Peck. Peck. Yep. There are the woodpeckers making their presence known.

Rabbits and bunnies have been around for a while now. In fact, I saw quite a few rabbits during the winter months, but it was a treat to see one hop across the lawn Easter Sunday.

Our two daughters, my husband, and I took a walk to the banks of the Crow River, which is very close to our property. The river is low, but the animal tracks were abundant. We had a good time trying to identify what animals left the various tracks. It was our first rock-skipping venture of the spring, as well.

Our middle daughter, a freshman, loves to fish, so she was aching to grab her pole and come down to the river to fish. Ah, yes, the wonderful activities of spring that we are all itching to do.

Our family has already engaged in a couple of scavenger hunts this spring – leaving notes with hints and clues for the next clue in the hunt – “I am retired” (our old garden spot); and “Look at me, I am free” (a butterfly lawn ornament). The clues continued.

This scavenger hunt was created by our youngest daughter for my husband and me. At the last clue spot, she left us a note with some coffee, telling us that after all our good work we should go inside and enjoy a cup of coffee.

We did just that. She had two mugs sitting next to our coffee machine. How clever and endearing. The best scavenger hunt yet.

It is amazing what the wonderful world of nature can provide for simple entertainment and education: bird watching and listening, identifying animal tracks, rock throwing, river watching, hiking, a backdrop for throwing a ball around, enjoying a picnic, and sitting in the sun – all things you can enjoy alone or with your family.

Spring just arrived, but I have already taken in so many of its wonders and opportunities for learning, laughing, relaxing, and rejuvenating. The great thing is, it is basically free, easy to do, and so worthwhile.

So, if you get a chance, pop outside with your children or another loved one, or by yourself and take in some simple bird-watching or Frisbee tossing. Maybe even try a scavenger hunt.

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