Sitting on ripped lawn chairs, on old buoys, or on log rounds eating s’mores around a fire boiling birch water into syrup, we hear the honking of the cranes come through. Looking up to see a flock separated into two groups our daughter squeals with delight. We watch as the pass over us as they search the muskeg for a dry place to land….not yet cranes…they circle on and make their way to Homer I assume. I say, “Remember when we watched them leaving? And now they are coming back. We made it through the winter.” My husband raises a fist and lets out a “yessssss” that sounds like a sigh of relief. I love it when he does that.
We take a trip into the woods surrounding our house. Papa is on poop duty – he’s been shoveling dog poop by the bucket loads as it unthaws around the property. But our mission isn’t poop- its berries. We take with us a hand saw and pruners. I command to be taken to the overwintered cranberry hideout the two had been snacking on without me. We uncover a trove of cranberries- missed by the birds and creatures due to the overgrown and invasive azalea. We pick a spot and clear around blueberry bushes and cranberry patches. Papa had gone and marked small blueberry plants with tape days before. A couple of years ago on a nice woodland stroll, we realized we had a few bushes and decided to give them room to grow. Last year was our best year- we still are eating berries from the freezer. We didn’t realize how many small plants were out there under all the damn azalea. So every spring, when the snow melts and the plants are bare enough for us to be able to see and identify, we go to town on a spot. We all shared the sour cranberries, Primrose’s lips, cheeks, and fingers stained red. We carried the fresh cuttings to the fire to burn that baby down.
Two days ago, we ate sourdough waffles with freshly made birch syrup for breakfast and then we picked up two orders of bees. Two hives- roughly 21 thousand bees. We slept with them in the loft, a tradition because of the cold temperatures still during this time. But the following day, the sun was shining and we got them into their new homes. We all were happy to be in the wind-free sun despite the snow that is still feet high in patches. The rain today was worrisome as beekeepers- hoping they stay warm enough during the change of the season…but trudging through the mud to stick our ear to the hive, we hear the low sound of humming. The Hum of Spring.
It has finally arrived here on the Kenai.