I'm not the only one who is feeling the need to do some major cleaning. Down in the barn, I had the feeling I was being watched and looked over and into the eyes of the first ground squirrel I've seen in months. She (or he; I have no idea how assignments are distributed in the squirrel world) was pushing loose dirt, goat poop rolypolys, and twigs out the entrance of her home. Out in the pen, I could see dirt flying up in tiny geysers from any number of other burrows. I could better have understood this general awakening if it had been the day before, sunny and warm. Yesterday was grey and drizzling rain. I guess when you open your eyes underground, it doesn't matter what it's like on the surface. When the alarm sounds, it's time to get up.
The lilac bushes in front of the kitchen window are leafless right now, but not bare. Tiny birds, sparrows, wrens, and juncos, rest in the branches that are at eye level when I'm at the sink. They are every bit as welcome as the blossoms that will come later.
I'm getting to be a regular nighttime gadabout, again going to dinner with friends. Out twice after dark in a month must be a record. Timing is everything, and I can see that could be a problem should I continue this social whirl. "Meet us at six." At five forty-five, when I should have left, the goats were no problem, but the chickens were not ready to go to bed while it was still light. Bessie Anne did her best from outside the fence and I herded from the inside, but it was a case of get six in and two would pop back out. Those little chicken legs are fast! I arrived out of breath and only a little late to join my friends.