Weather and my wife's “schedule” have conspired lately to keep the pooch and I from having much porch time. A week ago today was one exception. It was an indicator of the temperature that we heard the spring peepers singing for the first time this year on our way back from town. That would have been February 19th. A tad early, it seems to me.
When we got to the house, I let the Mighty Dachshund drain and dump and sniff, and then we settled in on the porch for a while. A wren and a couple tufted titmice supplied conversation in the brushy edge of woods before us. In the head of the small hollow only a stone's throw before us, a small woodpecker thump-thumped on a limb, while a larger one drummed out a jungle beat on a dead snag. Crows cawed from a couple locations in the distance, but sounded as if they were moving about as if looking for something of interest. Just under the eaves of the porch roof, I could see through the tree tops as a buzzard circled high over the roadway, just visible through a corner of woods, looking for road-kill, no doubt.
The weather was entirely too comfortable for me to be sitting there in jeans and a T-shirt. I should have been freezing my backside sitting in the swing on a mid-February day. That's why the Easter flowers (daffodils) at the other end of the porch came out in bloom that day. Suspiciously warm winter we've been having! The pooches little nostrils had been doing the tango the whole time she'd been laying at my feet. At one point, she began growling at the orange color visible through the woods from a road sign put up the week before warning of a rough spot in the road. She knew it was something new, since the last time she'd lain there studying the landscape. It's been warm enough lately that the highway department could have repaired the rough spot had they chose, but I guess it was easier to just put up a sign. Finally, the missus got lonely and told me that I should bring in the dog, so we obliged.
It was fairly warm for a night for February, when I took the pooch outside at 3:30 the next morning. It was 49 degrees when I took her out again at 7. After giving her a chance to drain and dump and cleaning her backside (no poopy butts in the house, please), we settled in on the porch. It had rained a little in the night and the fog lay heavy on the hilltop area surrounding us. There were no little birds to be heard at the time, but the sound of traffic on the distant four-lane was louder than normal. The traffic sounds are much more intrusive than they were when I built this house 37 years ago. There wasn't yet any traffic on the road out front that morning, though. A quiet rumble came from the throat of the Mighty Dachshund as she noticed a couple deer on the far side of the pile of wood that I've been stacking up to sell. Their shapes were softened by the fog, but she knew what they were. I told her “no bark” and she grudgingly kept her comments to the low rumbles she'd already been making.