Spring Breaks

It seemed too cliché to be true, but spring really seemed to kick into high gear on March 19th.

I find that date significant: our latitude’s spring equinox, the day when hours of light and dark balance out, fell on March 18th this year. The “official” spring equinox, the one on the calendars, fell on March 20th (see An Unequal Vernal Equinox). On the day between, everything seemed to click, we tipped the balance from wintry weather to spring. Spring broke, one might say.

Zeiger homestead view

Spring breaks! It’s finally feeling, and looking like, spring (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

On that day, we pulled out two of our sun ovens, and set them up on the beach (see Cooking With Solar). We cooked lunch in one, while we baked cornbread in the other. This latter caused a fair amount of excitement. We’ve enjoyed a simple, delicious cornbread recipe for a couple of years, but this may be the first time we tried it in the sun oven. I’d had concern about certain points in the recipe, which called specifically for conventional oven and stove measures, but we overcame them nicely in the sun oven. We’ll continue to fine tune our process over the coming summer, then codify a sun oven version of the recipe.

cornbread in sun oven

Our first loaf of skillet cornbread bakes in the sun oven (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

That same day, Michelle made the first batch of yogurt in a while (see Homestead Yogurt). We felt this symbolized renewed homestead efforts after a long period of inaction—a spring awakening of sorts.

Since then, we’ve felt the full blush of onrushing spring. I’ve had to leave the homestead for a project 6 days a week for the last month or so. While the early trips involved large expanses of ice on the trail and road, bundling up in warm clothes, and somewhat desperate treks, I suddenly find that a hooded sweatshirt often provides all the coverage I need to travel in the softer weather. Buds swell all around us, we can sense the lengthening daylight. Birds, seals, and sea lions loiter out front, waiting for the coming herring runs. I’m thinking of tapping the birch trees again.

As I’ve belabored often on the blog, we follow the Celtic view of the changing seasons, in which each season starts earlier than the current designated dates, and grows from newborn to old age as it progresses. Spring is our most difficult season in this view (see The Circle Turns Toward Spring). When spring breaks, as it did this year, we find it particularly invigorating!



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