I keep looking for the two pheasants as I pass the meadow but I have only seen one again.  I did flush a small cottontail in the area yesterday.  No more pheasants, though.  Every time I drive along there I am curious what I will see.  I have seen red winged blackbirds fly over the meadow but not this year.  It is still too early in the season although not all migrate.  I have only seen the blackbirds in the winter time in a bog viewed from a nature center.  There are marshes a few miles away that attract red winged blackbirds.  It is still early in the season.  The farmer has strategically placed nesting boxes for them.  They come back every year.  Every time I pass there I try to spot them after they have returned from their migration.  These are two birds I like.  The pheasants wander to my area from the game lands.  They really are a rare sight here.

I have my eyes open for the two cottontails we saw in the backyard last week.  We tossed out vegetable cuttings in the bushes for them.  They were two plump rabbits grazing in back.  We do see them occasionally around but I had not seen any in awhile.  I wonder where they come from and whether they nest under that large white pine in back.  Ever since I saw them I keep peering out my kitchen window for them.  It is going on a week since I last saw them.  I just wonder where they go in the winter, whether they hibernate, or what?  It has been months since I last saw them.

The only thing I saw on the River was the ubiquitous gull.  I crossed the busy highway to take a closer view of the River but that was all I saw.  With a little luck I thought I might spot one of the bald eagles who nest on the opposite mountain.  Not this time.  I keep looking for them but I never have seen them in the vicinity.

Later on I might occasionally spot a snowy or great egret on the fringes of the nearby islands.  It is still too early in the season for that.  I just wanted to view the expanse of the River.  There were many gulls but that was about it.  They could be found here year around.

Later on I will walk around my land and see what plants are starting to come out of the ground.  The daffodils, of course, are five or six inches tall.  I am wondering whether any of the row of tulips planted last year will come up.  There are always surprises.  Spring is now three weeks and some days away.  We will see what comes up.

It does feel like winter today.  The temperature is floating around the freezing point and there is a healthy wind blowing making it seem even colder.  Even my four dogs do not want to stay out too long in the yard.  Tomorrow is supposed to be more of this, then it warms up again.  When I woke up, there was a layer of snow on the ground but it was gone by the afternoon.  Spring is getting closer.  In a few days it will be March.  All of that does not matter.  All I want to do today is to stay in.  It is just too cold.

The differences between Tilla and Coco, my two “pups”.  I call my dogs that for we raised them from pups.  They are both black:  only Coco is long haired and female.  Tilla is more athletic, barreled chested and lean.  He was the only dog who could jump the fence and necessitated building it higher.  He is a paradox:  aggressive but at the same time timid.  He still won’t let my son pet him.  He simply goes in the opposite direction from him.  Drop treats in front of the four dogs and he might get most of them.  He is quick.  Coco though can be quite insistent when she want to go out into the yard.  She also likes what I call “crunchies”:  when she hears us crunching on something she immediately plops herself in front of us and wants her share.  When I approach Tilla and act as if I am going to give him a belly rub he rolls on his back immediately.  Coco will demurely and slowly raise one leg and turn on her back to indicate she wants one too when I approach her.  Coco likes her privacy.  She will often go into a room or stay in the yard by herself.  Tilla is more my dog although I often find both of them in my bedroom when I retire, Tilla on my bed next to me and Coco on the side.  I love both dearly.

“Cool Hand Luke”, my black cat I owned before even I married my wife.  Nothing seems to faze her, thus the name.  She is the only animal left from that period, nine years ago.  She is one of the few cats who will cozy up to me.  She is affectionate.  She has some idiosyncrasies:  she likes to go through doors.  Open one, she will dash through and seconds later she might run back in.  She also likes to knock down things in her way.  Sometimes she will be on the window ledge and knock down everything in front of her.  She does not get along too well with all the other cats (we have seven) although she can be aggressive.  If you put out new cat food she is usually the first cat to hop on the counter.  Oddly enough the other two animals I brought into this marriage were both black.  I miss both of them, especially Daisy, the first dog I ever raised from a pup and also trained.  When we were in the same room, her eyes never left me.  She was my dog.

Sometimes the answer (from God) Is No.  No matter how badly we want the answer to be yes.  We don’t understand why we suffer.  Often there is just silence.  And other times it is a definite No.  Otherwise He would be just this person who we just ask to do this or that.  His purposes are beyond our understanding.  He does choose to heal.  But not in every instance.  Even Paul prayed that God take away his ‘thorn in his flesh’.  And He didn’t.  If you ask the question why, there is often no answer.  And if you keep asking that question, it will only torment you.  Sometimes the answer from God is no, no matter how fervently you pray.

Twenty-five days to spring.  I counted.  There is a dull roar of the wind tossing the tree branches to and fro.  It is almost a perfect day for putting up a kite.  The living room front door is open and and the thermostat lowered to sixty-five.  The heat is not kicking on.  The daffodils are five inches tall already.  I like walking around my yard to see what other new growth is appearing.  I am wondering whether the new bed of roses will come up.  There is no evidence of it yet.  Even the dogs want to spend more time outside and are loath to come in when they are out.  The temperature is slowing rising.  There are less days now when it hits the freezing point overnight.  Before I know it spring will arrive.

The winter was perfect for the primrose.  It was so mild the primrose never died and flowered throughout the whole winter.  In the past there were seasons it bloomed twice–early spring and fall.  Not this season.  It bloomed throughout the whole winter and it appears it will continue through the spring.  At least through early spring.  It likes cold weather, but not warm weather.  I have never seen the primrose do this.  This indicates how mild the winter was this year.  Usually an extended freeze kills it and then it comes up, again, the following spring.  Just about every plant in the bed either has buds or is flowering.

There is nothing sweeter than forgiveness.  It was only two days ago tempers between my wife and I flared over finances.  (Is there anything else couples fight over?)  Sure, but that seems to be a big area of disagreement.  Sparks flew between the two of us.  I did not act too nice or becoming.  She slept terribly that night and the only reason I didn’t was I took a pill at bed time.  We resolved our differences when both of us were calmer.  Sometimes you have to sit on opinions.  It really does no good to state your side over and over, which I did.  I forgot I needed to give my partner time.  The next day after the argument we hugged and made up.  There really is nothing sweeter than forgiveness.

There were several hundred blackbirds in that flock.  They were in the sky flying en mass.  They were tightly grouped and flying together not changing the distance between them much; thus flying as a mass.  I have no idea where they are migrating from or where they are going.  I just notice them coming through this area twice a year–fall and spring.  They are small blackbirds.  Sometimes they will stay in the area a day or two.  I just marvel how they keep so close together when they fly as a flock.  They are just a (???) one of many mysteries of nature to me.

“Pumpkin” is a grey cat with white feet and large splashes of white under his neck and belly.  He occasionally sleeps on my bed and like his belly rubbed:  he will turn on his back as I do that and sometimes “tooth” me if I rub him too hard although he has never bitten me.  He is a mild mannered cat bigger than his mom, “Jasmine” but small, nevertheless.  He gets along with all the other cats, which is saying something for there are six others in the house.  He was the only survivor from “Jasmine’s” first litter.  It is not that unusual to see Mom and “Pumpkin” and his other three half brothers hanging out together.  “Pumpkin” is just a nice cat.