Warning: array_slice() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Warning: key() expects parameter 1 to be array, null given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Tag Archive: Spring

Apr 30

Everyone has a snake story in the spring

“Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep.” — Proverb

I am not talking about snake-oil salesmen when I say we have low-life snakes around in the spring; I am talking about the real thing.

Carnivorous reptiles of the suborder with no external ears and a lack of eyelids that can dislocate their lower jaw in order to swallow prey much larger than their own head.


I think there is one under our porch.

I guess you could say I am not particularly afraid of snakes though, but I do not want to see one slithering under the steps either.

Yes, I understand that it is springtime and snakes are coming out of their winter sleep. From what I remember from my childhood days living in the country, snakes spend the winter hibernating just under the frost line. When the temperature warms up, out they come.

And, it seems that everyone has a snake story in the spring. Everyone has a tale of these legless low-to-the-ground critters that can scare us silly.

Snakes in trees, snakes under rocks, snakes in the house. Hollywood even made a movie titled “Snakes in a Plane”.

But snakes in a car?

That, too, apparently. My niece-in-law recently discovered some black snakes under the frame of their car. Apparently, the snakes hitched a ride to town with her husband and then rode back with him.

He didn’t mind much. She did and went to find the gun.

But in defense of snakes, they do eat mice and rats, especially black snakes, and that is a good thing. However, if you have a mouse in the house in the attic or walls, a black snake can find a hole and have lunch there.

Sounds creepy indeed but happens all the time.

Additionally, there are those folks who adore these serpentine, Slytherin creatures. They have snakes as household pets and let them out of their cages to snuggle around their necks. You have seen the pictures.

I saw it happen in real life.

Back in the 60s, I had a college biology professor who required that everyone handle a snake before they could pass his class. He loved snakes and wanted students to know that they were endearing creatures and nothing to fear. He started passing a big green snake of some variety that I cannot remember around the room. If you did not touch it, you received an “F”. I grabbed it and quickly passed it on to my squeamish neighbor. She dropped the snake and bedlam ensued.

Today, that same professor would be jailed for endangering and abusing the snake. The school would be sued for forcing the students to handle it and causing them to develop Ophidiophobia, fear of snakes. A faculty committee would suggest the teacher be fired for his grading policy.

Ross Perot certainly would not agree with this snake-loving professor either and once quipped, “If you see a snake, just kill it—don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”

I am looking for a hoe as we speak and heading to the front porch snake hunting. Please do not form a committee on snakes and send me letters.

Mar 19

The Day of the Frogs is here, and it is all about love. Ribbit!

“What is all the racket down by the backyard pond? Are those crickets,” I asked one morning this week.

My husband replied, “No, those are your frogs. Remember the tadpoles you bought late last summer from some catalogue pond supply house? They turned into frogs and hibernated all winter. They’re back.”

“Frogs! The frogs are here,” I rejoiced. “How could I possibly forget my frogs?”

Then, I wondered, did those cute little green amphibians hide over winter in the pond muck, or did they spend the winter under brush and leaves?

Wherever they took cover for the winter, I was delighted they came back. After all the Day of the Frogs means that Spring is conclusively, absolutely, and we-are-not-kidding this time, finally here.

Besides, the spring crooning of frogs is delightful, at first.

My delight lasted for three sleepless nights.

Make no mistake about it, these frogs are singing about much more than the return of spring. It is all about love, and the guy frogs are singing their hearts out trying to find the gals.

When the winter air warms, usually in March in the Midwest, the male frog starts to sing and call for a prospective mate or two or three.

I guess that is the point. Perpetuate the species.

Since I was awake anyway due to these love-starved frogs, I did some midnight research about their springtime mating calls. I learned that the sound of the male can carry for long distances and can attract female frogs from miles away.

I sighed with resignation, “Just what we need—more frogs.”

As I continued my frog research I learned that the male Spring Peeper is noisier than the Cricket Frog and is said to have the same decibel level as found on airport runways.

Wonderful. I think we have both these critters in our pond plus some of their cousins.

Some frogs in our small backyard pond make a whistling sound; the Cricket Frog chirps like a cricket; and the Peeper says “Peep Peep” like a baby chick.

To make matters worse, the male frogs in our pond have formed a singing group (I call them Froggies ‘N Sync), and their combined voices sound like a loud chorus of crickets. The serenade goes on all evening; sometimes well into the morning hours.

The only way I have found to stop their racket is to walk toward the pond. They either jump into the water or become blessedly silent.

Yes, there can be too much of a good thing, even the singing of spring frogs.

On the fourth sleepless night, my husband commented that he sure hoped our new neighbors are not trying to sleep with a window open.

“If they ask about the noisy frogs, better tell them the frogs crawled up from the creek,” he said. “Don’t tell them you bought them on purpose.”

May 22

All sad hearts need a little madness in the spring

“A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the King,”
– Emily Dickinson.

The merry month of May with its proms, weddings, graduations, and reunions is the perfect time to wear our finery and spruce ourselves up a bit after a sunless and dreary winter.

It is also the perfect time to “dress up” if one’s life happens to be going very badly.

In a funk because the ATM ate your debit card, the cell phone is lost once again, or because the expected economic stimulus check has not arrived yet?

Perhaps you are simply sick of the weather or you want the school year to end and hurry up about it.

Of course, there is no point at all mentioning how high gas prices drive our good spirits and normally cheerful moods completely downhill.

In the face of such despair, what are we sadsacks to do?

My solution–dress up, and I mean really, really dress up, and go somewhere fancy.

My friend Gladice did, and believe me she has more reasons than most of us to “get her dobber down.”

But she did not do that, and therein lies her story.

In the early spring months, Gladice endured a string of sad and grievous life events, one after another. Her father died unexpectedly and in mere weeks her husband died. Both deaths were sudden and both men in her life were vitally important to her wellbeing.  Both were relatively young men thus adding to her disbelief.

Despite dealing with the onslaught of grief and despite trying to raise two sons without her husband’s income, Gladice hung in there. She never lost her smile, and that is the first thing friends and acquaintenances noticed about her—a glowing countenance and composure.

Soon help and donations flowed to her family.

Yet, she needed more to alleviate the sadness, something cash and gift cards could not fix.

She needed to put flowers in her hair, dress up, and go out on the town.

One day friend Janice announced to Gladice, “Let’s get dressed up and go out. It is time.” And so off they went to an exclusive restaurant and ordered filet mignon.

Gladice decided to wear make-up and dress up fancy, something she does not like to do as a rule.  However, this time was different.

It was spring after all

Janice knew Gladice deserved a good time, an elegant dress, a new hairdo, an evening out. Surely it would make her feel better.

Whether or not we have as many reasons as Gladice for sadness, we can follow her lead as how to get out of it.

As Edwin Way Teale observed, “All things seem possible in May,” and I would add, especially if you dress up and put flowers in your hair.

Older posts «

» Newer posts