Mountain Communities Seeing Signs Of Spring


School is out for spring break, but that is no reason for the adults to not celebrate a break as well. Some folks are taking the opportunity with a short vacation with their children or grandchildren. No children or grandchildren? No problem. You deserve a break, too. But it does seem that we don’t think so. Most answered my question regarding their plans for spring break with, “same old, same old.” Now that is sad.

Here is what I see. The ducks on the Strawberry pond fly in and out, gossiping loudly most of the day. The big black starlings offer their harassment with even louder squawks. It seems like the javelina population has grown, but the squirrel population is a little lower than in some years.

Spring weather is peeking about, with azure blue skies, mild temperatures, and the warm Arizona sun coming out of hibernation. That hopeful observation was soundly dissed by a neighbor who chose to remember an April some years back that dumped several feet of snow around tax time. A pox on that sort of thinking, I say!

For many, we have begun to observe Lent. Easter will be here before we know it. My geranium is bursting forth with large splashy red blooms. I think it is asking me to be let outside. We will wait until the nights are a little warmer.

Neighbors are beginning yard cleanup. The winds of winter have left the ground peppered with pine cones and cushioned in pine needles. Pretty flammable, so cleanup time is upon us. Folks are also out walking, stretching housebound winter legs. Isn’t it fun to stop and chat?

So take some time to look around. Take in the smells. Listen to all the conversations around you, human and not so human. The purpose of spring break is take time to refresh. So be it. You will find a way that works for you.

Plumbers are grand guys!

My weekend was rudely interrupted with a clogged line to the septic tank. My generally unflappable composure was sorely tested with an unworkable potty and shower. I fumbled through until Monday morning when I went looking for my plumber. He was unavailable. I looked further. I found Glen at Ponderosa Plumbing who cheerfully came by only to tell me the job would require more equipment. He suggested Anthony at Affordable Hometown Plumbing. Anthony arrived in the early afternoon and after reaming and whirring with two different machines, the first not quite up to the challenge, finally unclogged my line. That sort of made a dent in my play time money, but working potties are more than a luxury in my life! Thanks, guys.

Sculpture south of Pine

My curiosity was aroused with the sight of carved bears and eagles just south of Old Country Road in Pine. There I met Brian Richter, his wife Justina, and their two boys, Clay and Eli.

Brian is a wood artist with chain saws. His bears and eagles, raccoons and trees are quite realistic but with a slight whimsical air about them. He carves them from logs with his Stihl chain saws, adding finer detail with die grinders and a Dremel tool. He has been doing this for 14 years and has set up shop from his home in Brainerd, Minn., through the Iowa cornfields, the mountains of Arizona, and the lakes in California. His creations range from $60 and up to thousands for the larger pieces. They are more than appropriate for decks and yards, even indoors. Being a bit of a woodworker myself, I could readily appreciate his talent. His portfolio also featured much finer carvings on a large scale.

His wife is responsible for the coloring of the carvings. She uses Sikken’s Log Finishes for the stains. She puts the twinkle in the bear’s eyes, and the raccoons look simply mischievous. Eagles get golden beaks, white heads and sharp eyes. Brian and Justina make a very talented team. The Richters are returning to Minnesota for a few weeks. Look for them again around the middle of May.

Quiet week

It looks like a pretty quiet week from March 20 through March 26. Here is a short recap:

The Pine Strawberry Elementary School is on spring break. Classes resume on March 28.

Pre-school story time at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library on Wednesdays from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

“Wii Gaming,” computer games for all kids at the Pine library on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For grades K-5, the time is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AND! There is a brand new computer just for children at the Pine library, with lots of super new computer games.

Remember, to keep me informed! Have a great week, folks.


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