"I need a good, stiff, springtime hike. Who's coming with me?"

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It seemed to me, yesterday and today, that no matter what I said or who I said it to, I got into a debate. Most of the time, I was stating facts or making observations, not scolding or looking for an argument. Didn't matter; someone had to disagree with me every time. As this continued into our school day, I could sense myself flying off the handle just out of frustration. So I called a halt, and announced a hike.

Everyone came along, since Tom had to leave. We climbed the hill behind us to the tracks, then walked along them to the next road (made of good, country dirt). The skies were cloudy and threatening rain, but the air was warm. Observations made included:

*The snow is melting, forming wonderful child-attracting, small ponds. We had all worn our rubber chore boots on purpose, so we had lots of fun.

*The birds were singing and the geese are coming back. YAY!! I love their clamouring every fall and spring.

*The road crews are out, pouring gravel and grading the dirt roads. A sure sign of spring around here!

We wandered up the road to see the horses with their not-so-new babies. Coming back, a train came through. I should mention that the trucks and graders scared our cats (who had insisted on coming along), causing them to tear away down the tracks toward home. Two of the boys had gone back to get them while the rest of us looked at the horses. They bundled the cats into their coats and joined us by the horses. Abby (age 3) had noticed the cats run off, but did not know they had been brought back. When the train went through, she started screaming and crying. I thought she was afraid of being so close to the tracks, as she soon stopped when the train passed. But as we walked along, I heard her saying sadly, "Now we have no more kitties. We have no more kitties now." The boys had to show her the cats, still in their coats, before her smiles came back.

It did start to rain on the way home, but we made it without melting:o) We must have walked a couple of miles in all, but the little ones did really well and we all enjoyed it.

Another sign of spring: cleaning up the mud on boots and pants.

-- Cathy N. (homekeeper86@sympatico.ca), February 26, 2002


ILl go,, anyplace that isnt geting 4 -6 inches of snow today,,,(like I am )

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), February 26, 2002.

Hello Cathy,

I wanted to go on a hike in our valley today but, we just got a cold snap and the temperature hovered around twenty-five most of the day. Tonight is is already twelve degrees!

When I take my hikes I like to take a notebood with me and jot down the location of any edible plants that I might find in my journey. I take a sample of it and press it in the notebook and then research it at home to find out its uses. This helps a lot as I just have to look at the notebook when I need something and I know exactly where it is located. This is a project that I started this year as an attempt to become more self-reliant that we already are.

Last year a attempted a little wild crafting and brought some of the wild plants home with me to plant around the garden. Most of them died so this is the solution for me this time.



-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), February 26, 2002.

Today was the third day in a row without rain and a beautiful blue sky. We took the horses and dogs for a walk up the road and let them eat some of that nice sweet new grass. I do believe I got a bit of color in my face today.

I too have a problem of no matter what I say, someone must disagree. I tell my twelve year old that she is so contrary and she says, "I am not!"

-- Laura (Ladybugwrangler@hotmail.com), February 27, 2002.

I walk around the outer part of my 10 acres, to walk all the dogs,before my long walk with my nieghbor,It was cold this morning,But even the barn cats decided to walk too. All 25 of them, I felt like the pide pipper of cats, Then My lovely nieghbor and I take off for our mile or more each day. The air was so clean, The red buds are all in bloom.Heard a flock of geese flying your direction[ North]

-- Irene texas (tkorsborn@cs.com), February 27, 2002.

Irene, you brought back a pleasant memory, thank you, about my Manx cat that I owned (or is it the other way around?) and would follow me into the orchards / woods when I went hunting with my pellet rifle. She knew that a free meal was in the cards if she persisted in following me around. She was a heck of a cat; dogs would try and chase her, and she would just stare them down! Even my next door neighbor Doberman knew something was up with her, she just didn't have an ounce of fear in her.

I sure do miss her; she died 19 years ago.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), February 27, 2002.

Ernest, what a great idea! My boys showed me where the raspberries are by the tracks. I think I'll get a copy of Peterson's Edible Wild Plants. My dad has one, and I was impressed with some of the recipes.

-- Cathy N. (homekeeper86@sympatico.ca), February 27, 2002.

I walked up to the mailbox-a little over a quarter mile there and back, it was so cold! Temp was below 20 and windchill even lower, kids were out of school today,- a nasty 8-car pile up not too far from here because of ice last night. I am very thankful this week that-My son went on his field trip on Monday-that was a gorgous day! and that my husband did not have evening class in Bowling Green last night, it was canceled for other reasons but I'm thankful he was not out on the icy road last night! I love to get out and walk-it helps ease my mind when I get frustrated or irratated with things. My whole family and especially the dog love to go for walks-the cat won't-shes too fat and lazy.

-- Kelly (homearts2002@yahoo.com), February 27, 2002.

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