It must be Spring because our lawn is a sea of dandelions. Last night our lawn got the first mowing of the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. Only 50% of the lawn actually needed to be mowed, but that 50% was distributed randomly around the entire property, so I ended up mowing the whole thing anyway. At a minimum, it cut the dandelions down to size for twelve hours or so.
On the upside, our patio furniture is outside once again, and we had our first multi-family cookout on the patio a few weeks ago. There is so much more room to entertain on the patio, compared to our dining room, that it is easier to have larger groups of people over. The charcoal grill has been restored to its place of primacy and the gas grill relegated to usage on rainy days or for quick, small grillings. Dalla has been reveling in the arrival of Spring since we've gotten in the habit of leaving both the patio door and the screen door open in what we refer to as our "open door policy". Since there aren't any mosquitoes out yet, we don't mind having the screen door open to the yard. She loves running in and out as the urge strikes her.
Dalla upped her prey-tally this season by two mice and a rabbit. The mice she caught under our recycling bin; the rabbit was dumb enough to wander into the yard during early evening. She saw it and went sprinting out after it. Unfortunately, it was too big to fit through the chainlink fence, and couldn't easily go under it. The rabbit was just halfway under the fence when Dalla caught up to it, so the struggle devolved into a contest to see if she could keep it in our yard or if the rabbit could struggle away into a neighbor's yard where Dalla couldn't follow. Given Dalla's advantages of weight, strength, and grip (she had the rabbit's hind quarters in her mouth), the contest was all but predetermined in her favor. After she ended the struggle, I rewarded her with a couple of treats, and the rabbit carcass joined the mice in our trash bin. With so many dead animals in our trash, we might have to rename the trash can the "carcass bin."
The birds are back in our neighborhood, including some that we haven't had in the past. Some white-crowned sparrows have been making an extended stay in our yard on their way north for the summer. An Eastern Towhee, which I've never seen in our yard before, has been hanging around for the better part of a week. I also put some sparrow-excluders on my birdhouses this year, which has encouraged some chickadees and wrens to check out the potential nesting spaces. It's nice to have the wrens back this year. I enjoy listening to their songs much more than the cardinals' endless braying.
As part of my ongoing descent into homebrewing madness, I planted five different varieties of hops in our yard this year. The hops are planted along our fences, so that they can use the fences for strength and guidance. This year's harvest will likely be lean, but next year's should bring an abundance (likely an overabundance) of hops that I can use in my own brewing endeavors.
Garrison is still a herky-jerky three-and-one-half month old. He doesn't have much in the way of fine motor control yet, though he's started reaching for objects and may even have a favorite toy or two. He likes to sing, coo, and howl in the morning and during dinner time, unless he's sitting on someone's lap. Putting him down for bed is still a real chore since he seems to think that he might never wake up if he falls asleep. However, Sarah (with whatever minor assistance I can offer) soldiers bravely onward and he generally gets to bed by 21:30 every night. When he's upset, Sarah is clearly his favorite person, and that makes getting him ready for bed a major component of her evenings. We've been trying to read him books, but, of course, he can't actually understand the words we speak. Regardless, he likes to smack the pages of the books with his hands. Since we had a real Dr. Seuss deficit (i.e., none), I bought him a twelve book omnibus that contains many of Geisel's best known works like, "The Lorax", "The Cat in the Hat", "Green Eggs and Ham", and nine or so others. His physical growth continues unchecked. He's doubled his birth weight and is now over two feet long.
Sarah has been keeping herself busy with keeping Garrison fed, happy, and alive. She has been diligently seeking day care for him that is reasonably priced, somewhat conveniently located, and staffed by caring individuals. As anyone who has looked for daycare can likely attest, finding care that meets those three simple criteria is not easy. She is also looking forward to getting back to work come June 1st. She recently attended a professional convention here in Madison while I looked after Garrison for the day. She said it felt good to be back amongst professionals, but that she also missed her time with Garrison.