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For over a month, I posted a daily countdown on Facebook anticipating the beginning of spring. I used my own photos of flowers and birds with text added that brought us closer to the date.

By the calendar, and the sun, spring has arrived. We won't count the inches of snow that coated us a week ago. Now we begin looking for more signs.

There were a lot of symbols of the season all over lawns last weekend. The Manzke family got together Easter Saturday for our annual Easter dinner and hunt. It was quite a crowd this year with extra visitors from Illinois.

The Easter egg hunt was planned without candy. There was 120 plastic eggs filled with toys, money and puzzle pieces (the puzzle went together to reveal who received which gift bag filled with extra surprises) and no candy. I think this grandma missed having sweet treats more than the kids did.

All the grandchildren were in the basement playing, while aunts and uncles hid the eggs outside. I wondered why window shades were being pulled and then understood when a child was chastised for sneaking a peak for the eggs hidden outside.

Some eggs were out in plain sight for the two tiny tots to find, while others were higher up in tree branches. Most of these eggs couldn't be reached except for the help of our tallest grandsons. Ethan and Seth were big helpers, suggesting places little cousins might look and then reaching up when the short people couldn't.

Our two littlest grandsons were the best to watch. Wyatt (2) didn't gather as many eggs as his brother or sister, but he couldn't have had more fun. Harrison (18 months) gathered six eggs with help. After that, every time he reached for another, he'd tip his basket and dump his first eggs. He mostly had a game of pick-up-eggs.

I stood back and enjoyed the commotion.

When inside the house again, plastic eggs were counted. Of the 120 set out, 115 were accounted for. Five eggs will turn up later — at least they aren't filled with candy.

This reminds me of a couple egg hunts from my childhood. Dad hid real eggs in our front yard. We never found all of those eggs. One went down a snake hole for sure. Dad didn't know the hole was so deep.

A community hunt took place after a spring snow storm. We bugged Mom to take us because there was a golden egg worth $50. No one else showed up for the hunt, so we thought our chances were pretty good. Too bad the 6 inches of snow obscured any signs of eggs, golden or otherwise, and we went home empty handed.

Good thing we had our egg hunt in Sun Prairie this year. There wasn't any snow left there, except on the north side of the house.

One more sign of spring I'd like to mention is April Fool's Day. One year, Aunt Bea called her brother, my dad, and said, 'Your pony, Snicker, is in our pond. I think he may drown!'

Dad reacted. He reached for his jacket before hanging up the phone; that's when he heard Bea laughing. 'April Fools!' There was no pony in their pond.

Every year after, Aunt Bea called to tell Dad the same story. It became a tradition that went on even after they both passed on. Now my cousins call me to tell me Snicker's in the pond.

All these are signs of spring — so are blooming flowers. I know some town friends already have crocuses, but not here. We're always two weeks behind, but they will be coming. I can't wait for green grass to grow, even if that means mowing. That's so much better than shoveling snow.

Spring is here. There are signs everywhere, though some will wait a while yet. There are people out there still wearing long johns, which won't come off until mid-May. Now that's the real test spring has arrived for good.

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