Last week the Bradford pears burst into bloom, the redbuds were budding, and the first signs of spring were in the air. The birds are getting into the swing of things, too. I saw a flock of returning robins near my office, and the mockingbirds are duking it out in the back yard over a particularly desirable nesting site. I can hardly wait until the winner gets settled in and sings to mark his territory. I love to listen to them.
For myself I am selecting the cycling events for the summer and committing to my training schedule. As I do every year, I am also wondering why I did not keep up my exercise routine all winter because now I will have to hustle. I have an extra incentive because our May trip to the Grand Canyon will include some rather demanding hikes. Unless the weather goes against us next weekend's trip to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge will tell the tale. I'll be testing my new sleeping bag liner to see if it's going to give me enough warmth for the cold nights in Arizona. I'll also be testing my legs against Elk Mountain to see how they have fared over the winter. I will also be trying out my new hiking pants and day pack. The creaking but comfortable old hiking boots and big heavy old school binoculars will be serving again this year.
Bigger animals are enjoying the warmer weather too. Roxy and I went to the dog park Friday. Our dog park is very near Lake Hefner, and the wind tends to be pretty strong and cool there. I avoid it in cool weather because I'm a big baby, but Roxy has always preferred warm weather too. Even in the hottest weather she likes to bask in the sun like a lizard. Now that she is getting a little older she is even less inclined to stay outside in the cold. She's at least ten years old, and although she's still lively and active she is noticeably less so in cold weather. The achy joints and old injuries are starting to catch up with her.
I'm in the home stretch on my latest pair of monkey socks only with two pattern repeats and the toe to go. I'm really pleased with the almost-solid color and the way it works up in this pattern. I did an eye of partridge heel which turned out especially pretty. I mean to keep these for myself, but even though I think they are gorgeous I doubt I will wear them this year unless I take them along to the Grand Canyon to wear in the evening around camp. Although though I know we will have some cold days and even a likely snow flurry every year at this time I am mentally finished with winter and I don't want to put on anything woolly. I should finish them tonight or tomorrow, and then I will probably cast on for Mr. Foster. The more I look at that pattern the more I think it should be a great learning experience. For a smallish project it has a lot of meat. The legs are basically toe up socks, which I have only done once. The face is worked as a mitred heel. His little Union Suit is made like a bottom up raglan sweater with a Henley neck, and his bathrobe has set in sleeves. I'll probably start on my next lace stole at the same time, and of course also get some socks going. Three projects seems to be my best arrangement.