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A postcard from the FRIGID north (soon to a coming attraction in Your neighbourhood!)

This morning is a peaceful morning. The very cold air is calm. As the sun rises, the sky lightens and the snow turns a beautiful blue - almost turquoise - as it reflects back the dawn light to the sky. No birds are singing yet. They huddle together in their nests trying to stay warm until the sun comes up to ease the worst of the cold. So all is quiet and still. Slowly the sun rises higher and the snow turns brilliantly white, dazzling unwary eyes. Day begins.

-- Tricia the Canuck (, March 04, 2003


Beautiful images you have dancing in my brain Tricia!

-- Aunt Bee (, March 04, 2003.

That's lovely Tricia. It sounds so peaceful and crisp and clean.

-- Carol (, March 05, 2003.

That was beautiful, Tricia!

I'm back in Houston this weekend and it's MUCH warmer here. I'll write one for you.

New leaves are unfolding to greet the morning sun. Tiny blades of green grass begin to dot the landscape. Robins scurry about searching for worms... Spring has arrived!

-- Gayla (, March 08, 2003.

Spring has arrived here too, Gayla!

Your word picture was lovely!

We're expecting close to 80 degrees here today, and tomorrow-YAHOO! I have this brown squirel that keeps coming up to the sliding glass door off the kitchen, looking in like he is waiting for lunch or a mate to come and greet him!

Dang, I'm seeing cottontails and jackrabbits in the backyard too, since Miss Molly left us. On a day like today, she would have been out sunning herself on the kooldeck, as I worked in the yard. Funny, last night, I heard her only a Saint Bernard can do, expelling air with her lips flopping, in sweet silent sleep, while her paws twitched, as if running in her noiseless dream. Some nights, I still feel her large warm body, getting up in the bed, in my half sleep. I miss her still...

-- Aunt Bee (, March 08, 2003.


I hate spring. It's beautiful for about two days, and then all the chlorophyll and pollen sets in and it's the same all the way to next september. Bah Humbug. You know how meteorologists say that 100 pollen count is uncomfortable, 150 is dangerous. if that's true, then what is six to seven thousand? We have entirely too many pine trees, and it turns everyone's car yellow! for three months!

-- Jean (cough.cough@cant breath.ack), March 08, 2003.

The winds picks up slowly, like a bride undresssing for the first time before her new husband. A brief gust here, then another to follow, are the only signs of imminent change.

But this is enough to alert him.

The ice fisherman knows what is coming. He sees the slate colored mammoth clouds approaching, and notes the new direction of the wind. It nudges the upper branches of the tall Pines and Oaks that stand guard proudly along the lakeshore.

The ice under his feet is black---the hardest type of ice---, and despite being out here for longer than usual, he hasn't caught very many fish. A distinct cracking sound reaches his ears. Even the ice itself says it is time to go.

He can't stay out on the frozen lake any longer. It would be too dangerous. He goes over to the first tip-up and reels in the line through the 8-inch hole he bored into the ice. The small bait-fish is still on his hook. No bite here. It wriggles in anticipation of being set, its silver side glistening for a split second in the vanishing sunlight. He wonders if it knows it is about to be set free.

He goes over to the next three tip-ups and repeats the procesdure, stowing them with the rest of his gear on the snowsled. Last, he goes up to the fifth tip-up, the first he set up. As he approached, the bright red flag shot into the air, signaling a bite. Excitedly, he ran the short distance to the hole and looked down into the icy water at the reel.

The spool on the reel was turning! Line was coming off, and qucikly too. He pulled the tip-up out of the water and grabbed the line. HE could feel the fish now as he pulled it towards the hole opening in the icy. A stronger gust of wind rushed across the open area of the lake signaling he didn't have much more time.

The fish was coming to him nicely now. In only a few more seconds he could see it. One last pull and the Calico Bass was on the ice. Several sttrands of lushly-colored green weeds were wrapped around the fish and line. A portent of Spring.

He smiled. Almost in response, the wind hissed over the frozen landscape. The bass was a keeper. He stowed the fish away and put the the rest of his gear on the snowsled. It was time to go home.

The scene is changin quickly. Dark clouds race over the western lake as the solitary figure trudges through the snow towards his small but comfortable house on the laks shore. Well, I've got dinner now, and ice fishin' sure's been fun. Guess it's time for me to get back to my friends at the FRL---maybe after dinner. Perhaps I'll write one of then there postcards for Tricia and the gang...

A short while later he sets foot onto the shore. He turns to look at the lake and instantly feels the bite of the wind and sees he has only reached the shore just in time. The Pines and Oaks sway violently now and the sky is almost black. The storm is upon him, but he doesn't care. He smiles again and walks the short distance towards his shore house.

-- (sonofdust@I'm.baaaaaack), March 08, 2003.

Quite an adventure you took us on! Thank you, kind friend! I was there, on the ice with you. You really do have such writing talent! Thank you for your gift and sharing it with us!

Wish I could be there to watch you savor the gift of your efforts and Mother Nature!

Keep a worm for me, the next time ya go fishing, and remember, I'll be there in spirit, both to catch and cook your bounty!

-- Aunt Bee (, March 08, 2003.

Robins, Gayla!?! WOW! We won't see them for a few more months yet, I hope! They wouldn't survive our weather right now, for sure - I think we're setting new record lows every day, although it's supposed to warm up soon.

Aunt Bee, I *really* need to come visit your desert!

Jean, you could always come north for a visit... you might decide that pollen is the lesser of evils :-) We AAAAAAAAaaaachooo here, too, 'cause it's still flu season :-(

Rob, congratulations on the fish story. It's particularly remarkable because you didn't say it was a six footer that flopped its way back into the hole faster than you could load your camera :-) I hope you enjoy the last bit of ice fishing before spring break makes it your way!

-- Tricia the Canuck (, March 08, 2003.

Hello Jean. I guess you're in sneazin' season. "Bless You". Those darn pine trees are the worst, aren't they? If it's any consellation, you might build up a tolerance to the pollens and your hayfever wont be as bad as time goes by. I used to get it very bad when I was young, but now that I'm older (well old actually) I find spring doesn't mean constantly itching eyes, runny nose and sneazing. If all else fails, get Dad to take you to the beach. Cheers.

Gayla and Aunt Bee, I'm glad you're getting some nice weather. I can almost smell spring from your descriptions. Pity we're heading in the other direction, not that our weather is anything to complain about. Very mild.

Sorry you are missing your pal Aunt Bee.

Well taken Rob, but you nearly stayed out there too long, didn't you? I hope you enjoyed eating your catch. It doesn't come any fresher than that.

Tricia I hope it's not too long before you get to feel spring in the air. It's amazing what a difference a beautiful spring day can make to body and soul.

-- Carol (, March 10, 2003.

Oops, sorry Jean. I'm so old and decrepit I forgot how to spell "sneeze". I'll give myself 20 lines shall I? (Better than a rap on the knuckles).

I will not forget how to spell "sneeze".

I will not forg.......................(x 20)


-- Carol (, March 10, 2003.

Carol, spring sneaks up on us here. It teases and flirts; it warms the air for days or weeks, then turns a cold shoulder and snows for one last time (usually in mid-May!). Then as suddenly as it froze us out, it spins into heat and summer is here. I've seen highs of 30C as well as the year's largest dump of snow all in May. Not, I think, in the same May, but May-be :-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (, March 10, 2003.

Tricia, come on down, friend! We got in the low eighties today-quite lovely and warm! The mesquite trees should be springing their tiny leaves soon. I found bobowhite quail nests with their speckled eggs, next to my Bishop's Cap cactus this weekend. I also discovered a mourning dove has nested in one of my hanging cactus, and has two eggs she is nuturing. The morning sun rises earlier, and evening sun sets later these days-thankfully! I do need my daylight!

-- Aunt Bee (, March 10, 2003.

Carol, now don't you worry at all about spelling! Least not 'round here. Why, it's a known fact that all youz guyz in this here FRL have invented many new words over the years and have re-spelled even more. Far as I know the Awfulcial DIctionary still has to ketchup to us pioneering FRlian spellerers. So lettuce remember that there's nothing to be ashamed of, as far as spelling goes ;-) Uh, you can stop writing over and over now, or over and under, or under and over, or whatever.

Sweet Princess, I guess I should stop complaining about this crazy climate here. Yours is even more crazy from what you just wrote!

-- (sonofdust@likes.towrite), March 10, 2003.

p.s. Carol, I know you are going to find this absolutely impossible to believe, but the dictionary doesn't even contain the word "poopie"!!!!

Just thought I'd let ya know the truth...

-- can't fool me--- (I know there re@lly are.poopies), March 10, 2003.

Dear Mrs. Michaels,

is convinced Spring's alomst here,

she saw a robin.

-- (sonofdust@robins.migrating), March 10, 2003.

Glittering starlight,

in a velvety black sky,

the nights are shorter.

-- (sonofdust@likes.daylight), March 10, 2003.

Was the robin she saw, inside, thawing on Mrs. Rob's stove....... or being cooked in the stove by Mr. Rob?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (cook.r@asksabout supper.innocently), March 10, 2003.

Oh aren't you lucky Aunt Bee. You'll get to watch the doves fussing and caring over their babies. I once had a pair of blackbirds hatch two babies in a hanging potplant right by my door. The day they left the nest the father bird spent all day trying to teach his son how to fly. Such patience.

By golly you're right Rob. My dictionary too is "poopieless". It has three different kinds of "poop" though. So does that mean when you're poopie you've been on a ship, you're tired, or you've just plain got the er um poops?

BTW I like your "velvety black sky". That is just how our sky is at the moment. Black, clear and beautiful. Venus the biggest jewel of all. Sure does take your breath away.

Argh Robert. How did you make the connection between a spring robin and cooking? Are you hungry? Is it your surname? Shall I send you a few bytes? Please eat something or I'll worry that your hungry.

-- Carol (, March 12, 2003.

Well, it's back to winter here... about 6 inches of snow expected tomorrow.


Carol; I'm not exactly sure why it's not in the dictionary except to say that we FRLIans are ahead of our time...Way Ahead ;-)

Good Sir; We were expecting Spring but instead are to get more snow. Therefore, it is correct to say that the robin has robbed Rob!

-- (sonofdust@no.poopies), March 12, 2003.

70 (real) degrees here and clear skies.

Pollen count "only" 250 yesterday.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (cook.r@watchLondrinking.glug), March 12, 2003.

84 YAHOOO degrees today! And the sunrises earlier and sets later!! Yes, I know how fortunate I am Carol, to have the beauty of nature AND be able to experience it everyday, truly (thank you Lord, for my eyesight!). One of the most unique birdnests, to be sure, are the tiny hummingbird nests! Oh my, until you have seen a baby hummingbird, you have no idea how such a tiny lil feller could really be alive (in the spring, we have like 20 varieties of them here!). I know I have been gifted and blessed by Mother Nature.

Hey, on a culinary note (this for you, hungry Robert!), today I was gifted with a recipe for the most DELICIOUS Russian pastries! After I try to make them, I'll post the recipe!

Spring is nearly here!

-- Aunt Bee (, March 12, 2003.

Fergit the receipt, he mumbles...

Just fax the food.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (cook.r@waitingforthe.fax.), March 12, 2003.

Is yer land addy the same????

-- Aunt Bee (, March 12, 2003.

Aunt Bee - bobowhites, mourning doves and hummingbirds? Oh my! And blessed warmth! Although it did warm up to half-way to freezing today -9C! (about 16Funny). We might get spring sometime.

Rob, our weather may be unpredictable and cold, but it's only rarely wet. We probably get less snow most years than you do in one dump! And no poopie??! Bah, humbug. We'll print our own dictionary. One with poopie and ROFLTIP and awfishal and awfishing...

Robert, I want to know where you've been seeing Lon! I haven't seen our missing Cajun for far too long :-( His fan club is starting to wilt!

AB, I don't think the Russians are really renowned for their cuisine. Their vodka, yes. Their food, mmmmmm no. I hope the pastry recipe is a pleasant surprise.

-- Tricia the Canuck (, March 13, 2003.

It is a rather strange beauty here in GA. You look outside and the grass is the great shade on neonish green and the flower are absolutely brilliant.

And then you look up.

And see a harsh brown against a hazy sky. All of our nonevergreen trees refuse to be taken in by this warm spell. they are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. temperature will fluctuate a couple more times before its safe for the trees to grow leaves again.... And they know it too.

-- Jean (Ahchoo@cough.ack!), March 14, 2003.

Hello Jean. It sounds like your trees are smarter than ours. We are just into autumn and at the first cool day my golden ash tree started dumping it's leaves all over the backyard. The lawn looks like a jumper that has gone through the wash with a tissue up the sleeve. When that one has just about finished, the claret ash out the front will decide it's time to shed its coat. Cheers.

-- Carol (, March 14, 2003.

Only two trees, eh? Consider your self lucky - in sum ways.

We've got over 35 trees in the front yard - all "non-evergreen" as Jean puts it..... And another fifty-some-odd in the back. No grass back there, just ivy going down the hillside. Couple of pines, mostly hardward.

So we get a couple of million leaves to bag and shred for much mush mulch.... Leaves cleanup is a twice-a-week chore from mid-September until first of December.

Not much grass-mowin' though. Too shady to grow fast. And the "dirt" is hard, slick red clay. You could use a sledge hammer to drive the seeds into the ground I guess.

But they'ed just bounce back out.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (cook.r@watchLonraking.chug), March 14, 2003.

Lon was having trouble posting, so he asked me to post this for him:



Me and Kit just got in last night from almost two weeks on the road. Spent a few days in San Antonio, then on down to the "Valley" in the very southern tip of Texas. We woke yesterday to 86 degrees and about 90% humidity, so I guess Spring is almost over for us.

Actually, that is one of my favorite trips this time of year. South of San Antonio, the roadsides spread out into endless pastures of scrub and short grasses. In a wet year like this, you can drive for 2, maybe 3, hours without even a break in the wildflowers; soft pinks of primrose, bluebonnets, bright yellow sleepy daisies and soft reds of early paintbrush, all mixed together as far as you could see. The yucca had great white tops of waxy flowers and over all, the little dryland shrubs, catclaws mesquite and huisache were covered with yellows and orange. On the higher, and dryer, areas, the tall standing flowers of hairy jempson weed and nettles would undulate like white waves in the breeze which came up heavy with dampness from the Gulf of Cortez over the desert mountains of Mexico.

We leave again in a few minutes, for a few days in Louisiana and Arkansas. Just wanted to check in and ketchup. Great story, Rob, but I'll wait and come surf fishing with you in July if you don't mind. And Bea, one more word about how lovely it is on the edge of your desert, and I swear, we're ALL moving in!


And my comment is : Lon, you want to move out of all those beautiful flowers to a *desert*!?!?

It did (finally) make it out of the deep freeze today. I'm not sure just what our high was, but it was above freezing! So one of the major freeways flooded out... Fortunately, not one I have to take to or from work.

I started the last 2 threads, and we're down to only one on the new questions page. Will someone please start another one soon? :-)

-- Tricia for Lon (, March 14, 2003.

Don't sell us short dad. One time we didn't do the front yard for four weeks. The result: We spent 45 minutes on a 4 foot by two foot area, trying to get through the leaves to ground level. Unfortuanely we had to empty the mulcher twice while doing it. Add that on to the fact that our front yard is one continuous steep slope and we can't even think about using a fun ridea-along mower.

And dad will get on me for complaining so I'll say it right now. I don't do the leaves because Mom and Dad get up before I do (aka; anytime previous to two in the afternoon) and mow. they are sometimes nice enough to wait till noon.

-- Jean (, March 15, 2003.

Ha Robert. Sprung by Jean. Didn't do the front yard for 4 weeks eh. Yeh I know. We've been guilty of that too. The only trouble is if we leave it too long my cars' wheels spin when I try to back out. Just think of all that lovely free mulch. I don't envy you the hard soil though, ours is just sand, easy to weed, but one big sponge.

Hi Lon & Kit. Your trip sounds beautiful, but 90% humidity would kill me. I think you're on the right track with Bee. Do you think she'd have us all. Think about it. Beautiful weather, wildlife galore and SHE COOKS TOO! Doesn't come much better than that.

Tricia please don't tell me that just above freezing and raining is good because that's about as bad as our winter gets. Now I feel really guilty. People here go all the way to Queensland to get away from it. Still I never get to see snow, do I?

-- Carol (, March 15, 2003.

Carol, I'd say just come here in January to see snow, but this year that really wouldn't have worked for the first half, and then it got too cold to enjoy it (especially if you're from somewhere warm - ask me sometime about my first year back from Zambia :-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (, March 15, 2003.

Yeah, Carol, we get free mulch. We piled it around our trees to "keep them warm" during the winter. Personally I think it's just a way to give the squirrels somewhere to hide their nuts. You know what I mean, pottybrain!

Anyway, during the spring, we don't mow the grass. We mow the moss and baby trees.

-- Jean (cook.r@watchLondrinking.glug), March 16, 2003.

Merry spring!

Your days and nights are now spilt in two (at least today they're equal!) and the sun actually will rise in the east and set in the west for a change.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (cook.r@watchLondrinking.glug), March 23, 2003.


We've actually had above freezing highs all week - it's been WONDERFUL! And more sun, as well as warmer....ahhhh spring :-)

-- Tricia teh Canuck (, March 23, 2003.

I'm glad the sun has finally worked out where you are Tricia. I hope the worst of the weather is behind you now. We've just had an inch of very welcome rain and the days are still pretty mild, so there's nothing to complain about here either.

-- Carol (, March 24, 2003.

Sun in Canada and rain in Australia. All is well with the world...

Well, except for that Iraq thing. ;-)

-- Gayla (, March 25, 2003.

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