Spring is here. Okay, not technically, but for all intents and purposes it's spring. How do I know this? Because a few weeks ago I heard from the peacock for the first time, and just a couple of nights ago as I was falling asleep I heard the Great Horned owl that lives in the woods near our house.
The peacock, I should mention, is not ours. It lives on a small farm on the hill across from us, with the owl's woods in between us. In the fall and winter it tends to stick closer to home, but in the spring and summer it goes on walkabout looking for other peacocks. Unfortunately, we are rather low on peacocks in this area but that doesn't stop it from wandering. We even got a visit from it two springs ago - it came to the Unfarm in the evening and stayed all the next day before moving on again. I think the chickens attracted it in the first place, but weren't enough of an enticement for it to stay for any length of time. (The chickens, for their part, didn't quite know what to do with this GIANT bird in their yard, so they did their best to ignore it. It wasn't easy - he was quite a spectacle.)
The garden is also showing signs of life again: we have three crocuses (the last hold outs in the battle against the animals) that are up and blooming, a great many scilla have started re-emerging, and the daylilies are now a few inches tall. Oh, and the primroses - the primroses are making their come back.
That is how I know it's spring. This is not to say that the weather will be all blue skies and sunshine from now on - far from it, as we still have about three months left of the rainy season. These last few sunny days are simply a fluke, designed by the Pacific Northwest weather gods to torment those of us who choose to live here: they give us just enough good weather to send us into a sun induced euphoria, only to swamp us in again with clouds and rain from one end of the horizon to the other. But I've seen this trick before so I know to enjoy the sun but expect the rain, at least until June.
I suppose it is somewhat of a blessing then, that I am currently taking statistics and accounting - the homework keeps me occupied when I might otherwise be tempted to work in the garden. The amount of clay in our soil is good for the plants, but it means that the ground can't be worked until it has been sunny and warm for a couple of weeks at least, once the winter has ended. Until then, I get to spend my days learning about conditional probabilities and writing up financial statements. Does life get any better? (I certainly hope so.)