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ANN BAILEY: Signs of spring make remaining wintry days bearable

With less than a week left in February and only a little more than three until the official start of spring, there’s a light at the end of the winter tunnel. Though, it’s unlikely that spring will arrive for at least a couple of months, there definitely are signs it’s coming.

One of the most obvious signs, of course, is more hours of light. Today, there are 10 hours of daylight, two more hours than there were two months ago. As the days lengthen, my energy level increases. With more light at the end of the day, I am more motivated to continue with my day and less inclined to feel like it’s time to get in my jammies at 6 p.m.

Along with the increased light, there is more warmth in the sun. Even when the temperature reads below freezing on the thermometer, the snow on the black fields is melting, there is water dripping from the eaves on our house and the inside of my car is warm when it’s sitting outside in the sun.

As the co-owner of a flock of chickens, another annual sign of spring is that more hens are laying eggs. We’re collecting at least a half dozen eggs a day. Our trio of cats also seems to sense spring is in the air and are spending more time sitting by the window and gazing at the birds and squirrels that eat at the feeder.

Progressing through the year

Another sign of spring is that my sons’ wrestling season has ended and track practice has begun. After a brief break from sitting on the bleachers, I will be back in my stadium chair. At this time of year, the track season is full of possibilities and I am optimistic that the sun will be shining warmly on my back as I watch my sons compete.

With the beginning of spring sports, the end of the school year also is in sight. Students are on the down-side of the second-to-last quarter of the 2013-14 year, and summer job openings are starting to show up on the bulletin board at the high school. Meanwhile, juniors and seniors are making plans for prom and parents of soon-to-be graduates are planning what to serve at their children’s receptions.

Inside and outside

Signs of spring also are evident in stores. Light, bright clothing hangs on the racks of retail stores, bags of Easter candy entice customers checking out at the big-box stores and lawn and garden tractors are on display at farm supply stores.

After a long winter’s break, I am starting to look forward to mowing lawns again. Meanwhile, I have been leafing through seed catalogues, checking out the new varieties of fruits and vegetables. In a few weeks, I’ll send in my order and my husband, Brian, and I will start talking about how we want to lay out this year’s garden.

We also will begin discussing what home improvement and farmstead projects we want to undertake this year. A couple of likely ones will be putting in paving stones to lead up to our front porch and doing some landscaping. Meanwhile, we will have perennial projects such as painting and cutting down trees that are growing where they shouldn’t be.

Whether spring will arrive early, late or somewhere in-between remains to be seen. For now, the only sure thing is that it is coming. While that may not seem like much, it is enough to help me get through the remaining days of winter a little easier.

Reach Bailey at or (218) 779-8093.