Snow is forecast for the last part of the week; fulfilling the prophesy that it must fall on the sarvis bloom before spring can really make its entrance.

We are more than ready to welcome her with open arms. Grass grows greener each day, while peach and pear trees sport their pink and white flowers. It is such a blessing to live here when spring awakens the hills from the sleep of winter.

Spring peepers announce loudly and persistently that spring has arrived. From pond and puddle, their shrill piping resounds in a jubilant chorus. Songbirds awaken early each morning to greet the dawn with cheerful song. We also greet each portent of coming spring with thankful hearts.

Winter seems reluctant to leave the hills, hanging on with a chilly hand that scatters cold rain and light snowflakes here and there. Still, violets are blooming in purple clusters on the creek bank and ditch line, and golden dandelions are sprinkled liberally all over the lawn. To fully enjoy spring’s advent in the hills, one must get right down to earth to appreciate the miniature beauty of the wild flowers.

I am happy to report that the morel mushrooms are appearing in the rich, damp soil of the woods. Daughter Patty has been finding them the past few days—these are the dark, early ones and are delicious. The larger yellow ones will appear later. Sometimes I thinks she grubs them from under the ground! She’s always the first in the family to find them. A mushroom hunt is rewarding, because there are so many green and growing things that catch your eye. There on the bank, close to the ground, are the miniscule pussytoes, resembling a fuzzy cat paw. The golden ragwort is beginning to come out above it; cheerful yellow flowers that bloom all summer long.

The morel mushroom season is fleeting, yet valued and appreciated—just like spring. I think of how many spring seasons have come and gone for me, yet each season there is a stirring of the senses and a yearning for its return. If I lived on this earth a hundred years or more, I don’t think I would ever get tired of seeing it return. Each year it is a new experience that never gets old.

So hunt for mushrooms if you get the chance; get out in the woods and seek out the elusive morels (or muggles, merkles, Molly moochers, etc.)  Whatever you call them, they are one of spring’s finest dainties, and worth the search. While you look, keep an eye out for the tiny wild flowers that spring has to offer. If you are lucky, you will come back with your soul satiated with beauty, and your stomach ready for the sheer delight of dining on the morel mushroom.


I am experiencing the joys of motherhood once again, or is it grandmotherhood?

Ever since I lost Minnie, my beloved Jack Russell, I have begged for another dog just like her.  Well, I got Rosalie. She is an almost five pound Jack Russell, and a ball of energy. It’s almost like having a new baby, except I don’t have to change her diaper. We got her two pee pads, which she uses part of the time. My niece Julie gave me a box of disposable puppy pads, which she loves. She will grab a corner and drag it to her bed, where she has her other treasures—a Pooh bear with one mauled ear, Poppaw’s fuzzy house shoe, an odd sock and a half chewed bone.

I would like to train her to the yard, but every time I let her out, the bigger dogs use her for a kickball. They really don’t hurt her, but they roll her over and over, nip at her and run, and generally wool her good. She must like it—when I rescue her and bring her back in the house, she wails and cries to get back out.

She goes to bed without a fuss now, and sleeps all night until Criss gets up at seven. She wakes up the minute his feet hit the floor and whimpers to get out of her zip-up bed, and is r’aring to go. The minute my bare feet hit the floor, my toes are fair game for her sharp teeth.  I reckon I have spoiled her—when I sit down, she wants on my lap. I rock her to sleep often, and she loves it. It is comforting to me too; her warm little body cuddled in my lap.

I am marked for life, though, but not from tattoos. My skin is old and thin, and although she doesn’t aim to hurt me (I think!) her sharp little toenails makes marks all over me. She is worth it anyway. Our older Jack Russell, Sparkie, is somewhat jealous of her, as he was the top dog for quite a while. They are from the same strain (I think they have the same mother) but generations apart. He tolerates her pretty well most of the time, although she gets on his nerves occasionally. The other night he nipped her, and she gave out a sharp yelp as Criss and I yelled loudly at the same time. Criss gave him a mild swat on the backside and he went to bed immediately. He pouted, and wouldn’t come out.

The next morning, he was still pouting and still wouldn’t come out of his bed. When he finally emerged, he wouldn’t have a thing to do with her. He is still pretty cool toward her, and you’d think dogs can’t remember—he does!

Life goes on at Summer’s Fork, with our assorted dogs and great-grandkids; enjoying the warmer weather and God’s beautiful handiwork. I think God must have looked with special favor on our West Virginia hills to create so much beauty.

I guess most of us has a special place to explore, and that reminds me of a favorite poem that I memorized years ago in grade school:

FOUR LEAF CLOVERS

 By Ella Higginson

 I know a place where the sun is like gold,

And the cherry blossoms burst with snow;

And down underneath is the loveliest nook,

Where the four-leaf clovers grow.

One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith,

And one is for love, you know;

But God put another in for luck—

If you search, you will find where they grow.

But you must have hope, and you must have faith;

You must love and be strong; and so,

If you work, if you wait, you will find the place

Where the four-leaf clovers grow.