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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Busted Bridges and Broken Covenants

February 20

The false spring continues, not all that atypical for this time of year: lulled into false security, into a false garden frame of mind. Set out the plants and blammo, March comes in like a lion and teaches us all the same lesson we didn't learn last year.

I see the Valley folk have been busy with their lawn mowers--you covenant breakers, you know who you are: it's still February, for land's sake! Tony Broer, you dragged the vintage Snapper out of hibernation,and clipped the lawn. Have your forgotten the March covenant? March,at least, before you break your lawn maintenance fast. Even the Decks have mowed their lawn, an unusual switch of priority from the demands of their dairy operations. Take your Christmas lights down first, please. The Andy Werkhoven lawn trimmed like a golf course, the grass clippings already stewing in the digester, I imagine. Once my old neighbor Darren Roller moved south, I thought the days of landscape maintenance competition were over. In the days of Roller I hardly had time for the muffler to cool on my rig before he was out, just like the post office, come rain, hail, sleet, any snow less than two inches, every ten days. I could mark it on the calendar. Come on, neighbors, it's just a false spring.

I stop at Werkhovens' calf barn to snap a candid photo of the calves. A black car whizzes by, and I recognize one of our two valley Grammas (there may be more; if so, they are low profile grammas). Gramma Snow is on a mission someplace. She usually waves, but today she seems particularly focused. I am surprised to see her stop down the road, open the rear door, and gesture in a rather demonstrative fashion at a dog. The dog appears to know her. Wherever there is a Gramma Snow and dog scenario, I am immediately interested. A few years back, Gramma accidentally struck a dog out in the Valley, and concerned about its welfare, turned around, drove back and struck the dog a second time, with tragic results. This dog , I see, is her Springer Spaniel, Barney (II or perhaps Barney III?), who has obviously strayed his boundaries. He hops in the car. Gramma turns around and whizzes back the way she came, leaving me to wonder if her mission was dog retrieval or just random. Still, no wave.

I continue south and notice an orange flag waving atop an orange sign announcing a road closure. I'm quite sure what this is all about. The "rude bridge that arches the flood (Riley Slough)," is about to receive some much warranted attention. Gladys, my vintage Columbia bicycle, is always looking for an opportunity to throw me and Bridge 52 is a prime spot for this to happen. For months I have had to search for some last remaining strip of asphalt abutting the bridge deck to ramp me on to the bridge. A small strip still exists on the eastside of the bridge, which I traverse diagonally to the west side, where another small strip transitions me to the road. Time for a new deck on the Tualco Slough Bridge. Gladys is flighty enough ("Gladys," she's a female, after all....) without enlisting the help of a bridge to buck me off. No lower Loop Road next week. Wonder if the County will add a bike path??

One more stop on the way home--a photo to share. It is a fickle sun that attracts the cats at Decks, a feline false spring. Can you find the cats?? (There are five.)

Time to hurry back. I have to mow the lawn.
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