late march

Willow digs for mice. She had a good hole going. Snuffing and biting the thawed ground. Once and awhile she would stop and listen for movement under the ground and then furiously start digging again.

Our walk today took us up on the benches. The truck ride there was mud, snow, ice and lots of running water; melt flowing right on time.

Lisa told me sometimes she shuts her eyes when I’m driving the backroads when the trip gets hairy. She doesn’t like the feel of the truck sliding sideways or backwards. I told her at this time of year it is unavoidable.

We walked to where Ara and Slinky continue to watch the valley bottom. The tall grass was flattened from the winter snow. The new stuff was busting through. Still not enough birds for my liking.


On my day off I worked at a print shop. It felt good. Most of my life I’ve worked in printing or newspapers. I’ve done everything from working the darkroom to driving the paste-up pages to the press.

Working in the industry felt good. I never had to question my technique or method. I relied on experience. It was the same on my day off, like getting back on a bike.

I am a maintenance man now. Printers are a dying breed. Nobody reads anything on paper anymore. Toilets and heaters always need fixing. Every time something goes wrong I have to dial up Google to tell me how to fix it. It is usually an easy fix.

Printing on the other hand is hard, but always feels good.

This is one of those ‘good old days posts’.


Spring clouds from the benches.

Spring. Wind with empty tree branches flailing. Sunshine, sure, but with interruptions. Two Juncos in different locations surely must be a sign. Crows baying picking their spots. Ice melting south to north.

9 thoughts on “late march

  1. Anonymous

    Dad used to call those spring roads ‘greased cat shit’ and say they were way more slippery than solid ice. Like Lisa, I think I used to close my eyes sometimes as we slid sideways down a hill.
    We had a Junco in our yard the other day….I had to look it up!


    1. underswansea

      Hi Deb! Yep I can remember Dad calling roads ‘slipperier than greased cat shit’. He used to also say, ‘wet gumbo’ when describing slippery conditions. There were plenty of times I got out of the jeep and let Dad cross the ‘shitty’ area on his own. Even as a youngster I didn’t see the sense of both of us sliding into the ravine. He always seemed offended that I’d get out instead of shutting my eyes. 🙂


    1. underswansea

      That is interesting to know they winter in your area. Here often walking through the bush, their unmistakable chirp can be heard yet they are rarely seen.


  2. mountaincoward

    I had to look up Juncos too – what are ‘the benches’? I hate slippery roads – when my Mum used to drive them, I used to ask her to stop and I’d get out and walk!

    When I used to work in Bradford, I used to walk from the railway station to work past a huge newspaper print shop. It had windows all along the building so you could watch. I was always fascinated and was dying to go in for a tour around!


    1. underswansea

      Hi Carol, the benches are the hills that rise above the valley bottom before the mountains start. They are called benches because a giant could sit on the hills with its back against the tall mountains, and feet hanging down into the valley bottom.

      Print shops are intriguing. Most old community newspapers also had a print shop. I grew up in one and spent most of my life there except for the last 15 years. I miss it. I have several old presses that I have restored. One sits over my shoulder as I type this. It is a Heidelberg Windmill letterpress from the 1950’s. It runs great but I don’t have anything to print.

      Take care. Bob


  3. Julie@frogpondfarm

    Yes I had to Google Junco too! And I often Google ‘how to’ .. especially with computer stuff 🙂 How are you liking the new block editor Bob? Wonderful photos as always .. Don’t talk slippery roads, especially if they are up a hillside! Did you ever work with letraset?


    1. underswansea

      Hi Julie, I still have some Letraset hidden away somewhere. I wasn’t very good at it. I am used to the block editor now. WordPress worked out some of the early bugs. Thanks for stopping by. So now you know ‘how to’ junco. I will have to learn someday! 🙂


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