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Is winter over yet? I know we’re getting close to the onset of spring and other people are having a worse winter. Still, it wasn’t fun walking the dog this afternoon.

The cold, damp wind was out of the northwest. I had on my winter coat, ear muffs, gloves, and a scarf to hold up my hood. Any opening allowed the wind to chill me to the bone. Of course, as I walked I warmed, but I was happy to turn toward home because then the wind was at my back.

Bob walked, too, but on the treadmill. He said he may get all the way to the creek but might not make it home. “On the treadmill if I need a rest I can stop and I’m already here next to my chair.”

As in other winters, we spent a lot of time doing jigsaw puzzles. Most of our collection is 1,000 piece puzzles. Some are easier than others, but we are tenacious, and finish them—mostly.

When the last snow storm kept us inside, I chose to do a dog puzzle that we had worked before. Bob and I started piecing the outside frame. The ends went together, but were a struggled as each piece didn’t always hook into the next. We were at the end of the evening by the time we had the frame together. It was time to cover it and go to bed—we put cardboard over the puzzle so our cats don’t go skidding across the table and ruin our work.

It took another day before we attacked the rest of the puzzle and boy, oh, boy we had a struggle on our hands piecing it together. Bob grumbled after staring at the pieces for some minutes without finding any to connect. He seemed so discouraged, but I think he was more discouraged about the weather more than the puzzle. Bob wants warm weather so he can start outside farm work.

Anyway, my luck wasn’t any better than Bob’s but I wasn’t grumbling, well not too much.

Finally, I got tired of listening to him grumble. “You know we can put this away and get out a different one,” I said.

Bob continued looking for pieces. He grumbled some more and then more—I don’t think he heard himself. His frustration finally got to me. I began to push the pieces together, getting ready to re-box the puzzle.

“Hey, don’t put it away. I just got a couple pieces together,” said Bob.

It took a week, but we did finish that puzzle. I don’t think we will lay out another. Spring is around the corner. Puzzles are for winter and we’re done with that season. Right?

Lately, our evenings have been spent watching deer and turkeys come out onto our field across from the house. They frolic and scratch around searching for food. One evening, Bob counted 75 turkeys and 45 deer—the turkeys headed for their roosts once the deer wandered out. Seeing both together was special.

Now geese fly into the same area. They are looking for food, too, and a water/ice area. Too bad for them, the snowstorm arrived a few days after they settled here. They took to the high ground of the lane as the water refroze. I felt so sorry for them.

Swans come and go in the field—yesterday there were around 40, today none. Watching them always reminds me that spring is almost here to stay, at least we hope so, and I’m sure they do too.

With wildlife in our neighborhood I keep my camera close at hand. Yesterday the zoom lens came in handy. I had to go up and open our second floor bedroom window to take pictures of the swans—remembering not lean out too far. It’s not easy holding the camera like that, but I did get a few photos.

When walking outside I look for signs of crocus in the garden. Soon I’ll see bits of green and I’ll shout “Spring is here!”

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com.

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