This morning, the sun is shining like it is late July. There was a sprinkling of moisture on everything outside, so that it felt like Florida, except that there were no small lizards scurrying around. Little Bit (bob-tailed calico cat) is looking forward to lizard tails again this summer, but it is too early for the proliferation of lizards in the Ozarks. I do hope that the report that some tick-borne diseases are cleared by Western Fence Lizards as an intermediate host is accurate, and that this also applies to Eastern Fence Lizards. However, it is too early to be thinking about lizards. The spring flowers are still in bloom. The very large, brilliant gold irises are now in bloom, and the first of the Magnolia-like peonies has begun to open. Soon their fragrance will fill the yard.

Since returning from the National, the dogs have been in party mode. They weren’t as excited as I had expected about arriving at home after being gone for twelve days, and the next morning, they were ready to go again, taking any chance to go out the back door. Parker went to the Expedition and sat beside it, waiting for us to join him and let him inside. The van was elsewhere, and they don’t ride in the Expedition much now, but he clearly remembered that it was an alternative.

To extend the value of Party Life, they went with me to Springfield yesterday, then we took them for a walk in town. Parker greeted any willing human with delight. As we reached the last couple of miles from home, I had been listening to a Craig Morgan song about a homeless man dreaming about his childhood (the Cottonwood tree song), and I knew how Parker would greet a homeless person – with no reservation and no prejudice, with love and joy. He has always been good about keeping his priorities straight, and he’s begun making a deliberate effort to teach his little sister about some of these.

His little sister (based on relative size) has been acting funny again. She has been taking food tentatively as though she doesn’t want to be impolite but her expression when she takes it reveals that she is repulsed by the texture or taste of the food. This applies to food that you give her by hand and food that is in her dish. This is one of many clues that it’s about that time. She also starts to get into rowdy, loud play brawls with Parker, and she is the instigator. So while they are partly still hyped from party mode, this morning when she started working on Parker instead of starting her morning nap, I knew that there was more to the story. Parker is also indicating that it won’t be long, maybe a couple of weeks more. Then the house will be in uproar!

This means that I have at most a couple of weeks to regain some organization and catch up on spring tasks before my attention demands will be placed elsewhere. I’m planning to use this time well, to plant a new pine tree, move another, add a Guinivere’s butterfly bush to the flower bed, and a limber pine, remove the Sycamore starts that keep emerging from beneath the sidewalk, plant some Park’s Whopper tomatoes, and complete the post-vacation laundry and reorganization. It’s also the time of the year to order the season tickets for the Tent Theatre and make plans for any dog shows or family travel for summer. Hard to believe that summer’s here already!

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