Harbingers of Spring

We have returned from a stormy weekend in Shasta County. Tempestuous March madness came in the form of marble sized hail and toddler tantrums. Sometimes we laughed and danced in celebration and much of the time was spent developing creative ways to plug one’s ears while driving. It’s a wonder her sopranic screeching didn’t break any windows. Sunday night we watched a movie, and I wanted to adjust the volume before I realized that the wooshing noise and mosquito serenade was actually the pressure and tinnitus in my own head.

Despite new and trying moments of motherhood, we were heartened by little bursts of Spring wherever we went. The first of the wildflowers were up, and like the trailer for an epic movie, the tease leaves me with high desire to see more. Meanwhile, we are back in the city and ready to get our Spring on. A friend is coming over for waffles and egg dyeing this morning, and I’m hoping to make this. Here are some visions of my particular brand of Nor Cal life force to wet your vernal whistle, and a very happy Equinox to you indeed.


We jumped off the road and straight into the Turtle Bay museum.

The museum displays my favorite kind of mundane magic.  The understated beauty of Shasta Co. is brought into focus with a literal window into the Sacramento River watershed and education on the natural history of the area. I applaud them for making the Redding community aware of the indigenous presence that is still struggling to be recognized by the federal government.

Inali the Grey Fox is one of the many rescued animals that reside at Turtle Bay.

We have been to the museum many times before, but were drawn in by what seemed to be a sure fire exhibit for Fern.

It was interesting for adults, but surprisingly fell flat for kids.


Manzanita blossoms were in abundance and full of sweet edible nectar.

Indian Warriors.

The young leaves of Poison Oak are the most potent. The oils leap off at the slightest brush.

Shooting Stars.

Hound’s Tongue. I feel drawn to take the flower essence.

Poppy gnome hats.


Sometimes I feel like a cliche of myself. My treasure was three books…Eat the Weeds, a vintage redwood forest wildflower ID book and a pocket guide for identifying berries.

The day before we scored these moon/snow boots for Fern while thrifting.

Popcorn flower.

One of my favorites. Johnny Tuck (sometimes called Butter and Eggs).

Someone was stoked for splashing at the creek, despite the cold.

Redbud was in glory everywhere. More about this plant on Friday.

I have yet to ID this tiny beauty.

We returned home just in time for the heavens to open.

Marble sized. I wasn’t kidding. They bounced enthusiastically when hitting the ground.

Anything to stave off another melt down. YOU try getting her to wear shoes.

The horse in the front pasture was very Eeyore-ish about the whole thing.

The birds, however, were full of beans after the hail stopped. If I were to translate it might be something like:

Sakes alive Myrtle, have you ever seen anything like it? I think I lost a tail feather. Jenny, how are your eggs, any cracks? Wait, those aren’t eggs…that’s ice! Get off the nest you ninny. Has anyone seen my mate?

After the thaw, everyone went on about the business of being happy to be alive.

At night, recuperation was the focus. I stepped out under the clouds and stars our first night, and was greeted with a sound that I ache to hear. From the pond on the hill, and the creek down the lane, came the orchestration of Spring Peepers. Emerging from their winter shelter of dark hiding, they sing of cleansing rains and jubilation. Tender and vulnerable, they go forth seeking companionship and a season of new life. I am reminded to do the same.


11 thoughts on “Harbingers of Spring

  1. Oh far out. I just spent an age writing a comment and it just backspaced on me. What I wanted to say, was thank you. Thank you muchly for sharing your weekend in such a way that soothed away my grumpiness. Perfect words, beautiful photography and the busy sounds of birds just helped melt away this friggin grouch cloak i’ve been wearing. Thanks for being such a great storyteller and translator of feelings M. I can see that there was a lot of joy! I hear ya on the long car journey shrieky small child tantrums…loud and clear. Steve is convinced he has lost some of his hearing thanks to our two babes. I am learning alot about California and the course of water reading yours and other Cali based blogs- it’s quite intrigueing to me…it is so different to here.

  2. oh my goodness, little wanderer fern, i love her voice, that adorable kinda scratchy that just ratchets your heart! what a gorgeous weekend you had, with all its ups and downs and craziness. what a storm, what birds! i noticed after we had some snowfall the other day that the birds were going bonkers in our fir tree out front, a whole flock of fat little red breasted robins were having a potluck or something. it was so fun to watch and my cats were quite entertained at a wintry window.

    your adventures and your northern lands enchant completely 🙂

  3. you have a serious knack for adventuring. it is starting to rub off on me. i’m getting little hankerings to go do stuff, fun random exploring kinds of things that i haven’t in a while. and i often think of you when i get the hankerings. i do love the video of fern. is she the owner of her self and her world or what? did her mama show her how to be that way? i bet so. but i also know how they are totally their own individual selves, very different from us too. just saying. you bringing her up good.

    we have dandelions! that’s as far as i’ve gone with the blossoms so far. but i’m watching the fruit trees swell and it is cool. love. love. i hope that break was good for you and just what you were needing. breaky break. loveylove.

  4. So glad I met you today. i loved your most recent post. Made me really yearn for nature, and quiet. I am such a city girl that I forget how much nature feeds the soul.

  5. Hail yeah! Man that be some serious hail. Fern must have loved it. We got a tiny bit of smaller than pea sized hail on Sunday afternoon and Clover thought that was pretty great. Sorry to hear all was not as relaxing as you might have hoped for. Them’s the breaks, I know.

    The only thing that would appease Clover on long drives when she was that age was me singing. Ugh, I’m not really a singer, but on the way home from our roadtrip up to see Milla when she was I think a bit younger than Fern, when she wasn’t sleeping, I was singing and wracking my brain to recall all the kids songs I’d ever heard. Lucas couldn’t even help me, she wanted no part of him singing, it HAD to be me!

    The video of Fern walking down the road is so great, and those moon boots are rad! Perfect for puddle stompin’. Glad you got to go spend a little time up in Shasta, it looks (and sounds, those birdies!) gorgeous, as though Spring has finally sprung, or started to anyway.

    I love that you finding those foraging books qualifies as being “a cliche of yourself”, that’s so awesome. Did I tell you that I recently thrifted a copy of Wild Edible Plants for 50 cents? Yup, you are rubbing off on me it seems. I also talked my book club into reading Jane Eyre for next month! So far I’m totally enjoying it 🙂

    One more thing, we have two redbuds in our front yard, so I’ll be interested to hear more about them. Also, think I would totally dig the Dr. Seuss art exhibit. Ok, I think that’s it for random things to mention for now 😉

    Happy Spring dear!

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