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Friday, March 20, 2009

Four down, and 36 to Go!!!!

When you live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (da U.P.), the passage into spring is nothing less than a miracle.
Now, some people (that live in Michigan) call where they live as "northern Michigan", but they are talking about the northern part of the "mitten" part of Michigan.

But TRUE "northern Michigan" is the Upper Peninsula which is only separated from Canada by Lake Superior and it is separated by the great bodies of waters of the other Great Lakes from the "mitten" part of Michigan.

In the U.P., we get a LOT of snow.

A. LOT. And, even in the U.P., those that live in the southern U.P. sometimes get 50% less snow than even those in the northern part or northwestern part of the U.P.

The reason I am going into this is so those not from Michigan can understand our weather.

We get more like Canadian weather. But, even worse sometimes, because the Canadian cold travels across Lake Superior and gathers up moisture to dump it (in the form of snow) on us, and gives us even more cold.

What does this mean to us?
Our snow arrives in late October and stays here until late April. We have had snow in May many times. And once, while we were watching our 4th of July parade, there were snowflakes in the air.
I am not kidding.
Yet, during most of our summers, we do get 80 degree weather (and we even experience some in the 90's) and we have had our share of muggy.

To live here, you must have about 4 sets of clothes to match the changing weather. (And count in an extra set for your "fat clothes" you must own from hibernating all winter and not exercising much).

But, because of the amount of snow we get,it takes longer to melt the snow and for spring to finally bless us with its presence.
So, when it FINALLY comes, people here get giddy.
I mean it.
Personally, I have a checklist of things that I wait for every approaching spring. As each one presents itself, I get happier and happier.

The reason for this post, is that I saw the first ROBIN (which is on the list) in my back yard yesterday. I leaped out of my chair and announced it and clapped my hands and ran to get my camera, I was so happy. (But he flew away by then).
There are Robins in the U.P. that supposedly stay the whole year.....but none do that where I live (and I know, because I do a LOT of bird watching).

So, I got to thinking (which by now, if you are a regular reader, you know this could be dangerous).

What would be MY LIST of all the signs of spring?

So here is my "HALLELUEUJAH, We-Are-One-Step-Closer-to-Spring" LIST. It is not really spring until ALL 40 of the following occur:

1. Seeing a robin within 10 miles of my front yard or IN my yard
2. Hearing or seeing a flock of geese flying north overhead
3. All the snow melted from all the roofs within 20 miles of my front yard
4. All the snow melted from all of the roofs in my town.
5. All of the snow melted from our roofs This photo was taken today of my house and snow

6. No snow patches in anyone's yards near where I live
7. No snow patches in the woods near where I live
8. Seeing my first Trillium wildflower in bloom in the woods near where I live
9. Seeing my first wildflower in bloom on the forest's floor near where I live
10. Seeing or smelling the first skunk on the highway
11. Seeing the trees budding in my yard
12. Seeing the trees' leaves coming out of the buds in my yard
13. Seeing the Goat's Beard in my yard by the lake: budding
14. Seeing the Goat's Beard in my yard by the lake : get leaves coming out
15. Seeing my cherry tree blossom
16. Seeing my apple tree blossom
17. Seeing children go by riding their bikes
18. Waking up and hearing more birds singing (other than just winter birds)
19. Seeing the Forget-Me-Nots in my yard starting to bloom
20. Seing light green shoots poking up in my garden (of my tulips, daffodils and lillies coming up)
21. Seeing my first tulip in my yard in bloom
22. Seeing my first daffodil in my yard in bloom
23. Seeing flocks of "spring" birds returning to my feeders
24. Hearing "peepers" sing in the ponds at night
25. Seeing the ice break up in the lake that we live on
26. Seeing NO MORE ice on the lake that we live on
27. Seeing the small, annual flooding of the lake on our shore (from the meltdown): receed
28. Seeing the first person put out their dock on the lake we live on
29. Seeing the roadside parks that have been blocked for the winter: open again
30. Seeing someone outside, washing their car
31. Seeing someone walk by with shorts on (which usually happens the first time it hits 60 around here)
32. Seeing someone drive by with a convertable car with the top down (ditto on the 60 degree thing above)
33. Seeing the fist motorbiker drive by
34. Hearing the kids down at the park bouncing their basketball and making baskets
35. Hearing the first mower running
36. Seeing someone working on their garden
37. Seeing local businesses putting up their greenhouse "huts" where they sell flowers from
38. Seeing those greenhouse huts with flowers lined up OUTSIDE and for sale.
39. Seeing them set up their outdoor fruit stand and flower stands near where I live
40. Seeing my first spring dandelion
As of the date of this post, we have had four days of weather in the 50's. (Off and on, not in a row).
I have seen one robin, one motorbiker and two businesses starting to erect their greenhouse huts. And, a few of our trees are budding. Four out of 40 !!!

Stay tuned as I see/hear the other "sure signs of spring in da U.P. !!!!! I will try and post each one as I see/hear them, and add pictures, as I can capture some of them.


Ann said...

Spring here in Oklahoma is a total "uncertainty" - like today my daughter says, should I plant veggies now, will it freeze again? WHO KNOWS.... certainly not I. We have budding trees but it snowed last week. People are mowing grass but just to get rid of the weeds and dandelions. Afraid my list would be a muddle....

Love your house!!!

The Retired One said...

Grannyann: you are FAR ahead of us! We usually can't plant until June 1st, and even then we have to cover the garden some nights because of frost. Thanks..we built our house 5 years ago..the back side has a lot of glass and faces the lake (which is behind the photo here).

rainfield61 said...

WOW!! Such a long list to welcome spring. If cherry tree blossom, if apple tree blossom, if tulip in bloom, and this is no. 41, if I see all these in your blog, then it is spring now!!!!

Joanie said...

There's a big difference between UP Michigan and SE Pennsylvania! I've been able to cross a lot fo those things off my list!

Rick (Ratty) said...

We've already lost our snow here in the lower half of Michigan. Most of the ice is gone, but a tiny bit remains. I'm looking forward to seeing your big list get all checked off. My personal first sign of spring is getting captured by a fictional squirrel overlord.

Insanitykim said...

Wow you are closer to Alaska weather in some ways than I thought you could be! Up there we have:

-Fall for about 3 days
-Winter (can snow as soon as late September and thru to Mid-May)
-And Breakup

No spring. Just breakup.

Or, if you're a really bitter Alaskan, you only acknowledge two seasons; Winter and Construction.

Being in KY now and experiencing 4 seasons is very strange but I like it! I planted flowers today!! At home I would be shoveling snow!!

Hang in there, it's all coming soon! :)

The Retired One said...

Rainfield61: yes,help me check them off. Guess what? THIS morning, we woke up to 2 more inches of SNOW! Everything is all white again. Sigh. Three steps forward, two steps back. Although, my husband spotted that brave robin again this morning, so there is still hope!!

Ratty: See what I told Rainfield above. Here, the squirrels could just hang out outside and wait for the snow to cover them to hide from you!

Insanity Kim: People tell us we get more snow than Alaska! I DO love the 4 seasons here, too.
Although winter is 50%+ of the year and the other three seasons get squished into the <50%!!

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that we just have two season in da U.P. (well, at least Newberry area!)..those are swat and shovel. HA!

Loree said...

No snow here, ever, but we get our share of wind and rain. And today is a very cold spring day. So hope you get some comfort out of that.

The Retired One said...

Cathy: I LOVE that...Swat and shovel! hahahahaaaaaaa.I will use that in the future!

Loree: Spring likes to mess with us, no? One day you can take on the world because you are so happy and energetic with the sun and warmth...the next: down in the dumps. Guess its what makes us appreciate the glorious days so much when we DO finally get them!

Pam B said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I tried to respond to your questions, but there's no email link for you (you might want to add one to your profile or to your sidebar).

If you'd like, you can email me at antiqueornot (at)

Lesley said...

Michigan is beautiful (I lived there for many many years) but I do NOT miss the weather! I used to joke that there were two seasons: winter and July. Of course, down here in Dallas we have summer and January. This arrangement is much easier to take!

The Retired One said...

Pam: I sent you a separate e-mail,and I added my e-mail to my profile now. Thanks!

Lesley: Yes, the U.P. is VERY beautiful. I guess the weather is the price we pay for living in such a beautiful area.

Going Like Sixty said...

Brought back some memories.

When we moved to KY (where Robins live all year) I remember getting excited about seeing one a warm Feb day, and the natives thought I was goofy.

And... we lived in a log home for a number of years and it was the "homiest" home we have ever lived in. The downstairs was all natural logs, so at holidays, pounding little nails to decorate wasn't a no-no. You're home is beautiful.

But I still HATE gray snow an slush. Hate it! :-)

The Retired One said...

GoingLikeSixty: Yes, the Yoopers here that ski and snowmobile hate this time of year, too. It is too warm and slushy to do those hobbies, and too cold to fish, hike, canoe, kayak, etc. It is the "in limbo" season.
We love our house too, and looked at many, many layouts before we settled on which one to build.

Shelley said...

Your home is beautiful! And everything you said about Mich. weather is correct! LOL! :)

The Retired One said...

Shellmo: Thanks! The unfortunate truth, right? But I still love living here on the lake! We just take some tropical vacations in the winter to get away from it all for a little while...and that really helps!

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I retired in June 2008 and started my blog in November 2008. I worked at several jobs as a Registered Nurse prior to retirement. I LOVE being retired! Blogging has offered me a whole new venue to start writing again and to share new hobbies such as gardening, birdwatching and sharing my nature photography. If you like my blog, PLEASE click on "follow this blog". Having a lot of followers reading my blog gives me incentive to continue to do photography and to continue to write. I also LOVE comments, so I encourage you to leave me a comment after you read my posts. Thanks everyone, for taking the time to read me!!

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