This fickle season fools us every year


Spring has been tip-toeing behind retreating winter for several weeks. Now the troops are ready to storm the ice castle and banish the foe for another year. We hope!

But April can be a wicked child — like the old saying goes, “There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very good indeed, but when she was bad she was horrid.”


Over the centuries mercurial April’s many miracles never have been taken for granted and we are as in awe of them today as we were a million years ago. So there is snow in the daffodil’s trumpets — it will be gone in the morning. So the geese huddle together by the pond. So robins romance on the porch. So the goldfinches exchange their winter garb for pure gold. So the raccoon steals the birds’ suet overnight — my fault for not remembering to bring it in. So a groundhog is on the porch!

But tomorrow the geese will be swimming and lilac buds are ready to burst but have been told to wait! When Apache and Toby roll in the grass — mud? — they leave a perfect imprint of themselves as their winter coats fall out in great clumps.


Speaking of Toby, the other day I was having a little nap when I was awakened by a knock on the door and on the porch was a man (with a great white mustache!) and I am cautious of strangers. He said he and his wife were driving on Market Street and glancing up the Sunoco pipeline which is behind my back fence. “That is either a very large deer or a small horse,” he said, and they stopped to investigate. It was Toby, of course, who had found a hole in the fence — the pipeline company had been “trimming” and trees and branches had fallen on the old woven wire fence and broke enough of an area that Toby could escape. Ponies love to escape!

When he saw the man he went back through the hole and was standing innocently inside. Apache knew better and stayed put. It is a good thing he knows his name and my voice, so when I called him he came galloping at the prospect of food! He was promptly shut in his stall for the rest of the day.

Dear Jimmie answered my distress call and did a super job of mending the damage. Homer Althouse (from H.P. Fence) promised to come the next day, and did, along with a nice man from the pipeline — who also paid Homer. All’s well that ends well.


There is an absent member of this “family” — my dear 1995 — yes! — Ford Escort had a painful death (radiator problems, rust, etc.) and has gone to the junk yard in the sky and only 57,000 miles on the odometer!

In the driveway is a very nice Ford Fusion from 2008 and I’m having to get acquainted with it.

There are so many more adventures I want to share — but I’m still learning the new computer so my kind editor, Susan Crowell, has to decode once again.

For fascinating reading try The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan.

(Dare I say the many prayers said for me were heard, as I am progressing — or is it just God’s sunshine?)

Happy spring.


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A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



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