Posted by: chlost | March 23, 2014


At this time of year, the snow is black, the grass is brown and the general attitude is “Ack! Where is spring?” The seasons seem to have mashed together…winter runs into spring, then summer is here, and before you know it, fall is slamming you in the face with brown and orange leaves. But right now, the winter seems interminable.

We live along the river, in a spot where the water does not freeze during the winter. Because there is open water, we have Trumpeter Swans on the river all winter. They will swim no matter how cold the water gets, and are fed by a local family. There are hundreds of people who come to see them each winter. We often see flocks of them lying in the middle of a snowy field, warming themselves during the day.

A few weeks ago, my son noticed a lone swan sitting in our front yard. It did not move, except to lift its head and shake it as people or animals passed by on the street. Our yard is about 300 ft from the street, so the people and animals passing never even noticed the swan.


It was not quite full grown, as it seemed to still have some darker feathers along its neck.

We became concerned when it didn’t leave after most of a day. We called the family who feeds the swans to see what we could do to help it. They said that often the swans are poisoned by lead after feeding from the bottom of the river. Apparently the river mud can hold a lot of lead. They arranged to stop by and check on it and see if they could get it back into the river. Luckily, before they could get here, the swan began to move, and with some gentle herding assistance from our daughter-in-law, it made its way down to the river. We’ve lived here 12 years and this is the first time we have had a swan in the yard.

In February, I attempted to escape the winter weather by taking a “girls’ trip” to Texas with a couple of friends. We had a great time, but it wasn’t as warm as we’d hoped. In Mission, TX that weekend, the highs were in the 50’s. We did have one day when it was 80. Now, compared to the below zero stuff they were enduring back home, that was great. But we had really been dreaming of several days of 80, and to come back with sunburns.

We northerners have a lot to learn about the southern areas of the country. It was almost like a entering a new country, it reminded me of traveling in the EU. The people were wonderful,, very friendly. But we obviously were tourists. We shopped at a ropa, a very memorable experience. Mountains of clothing 20ft high with little “grey-haired” ladies climbing right on up, looking for treasures. The price….30 cents per pound.

We ate at a restaurant right on the Rio Grande. This is the river infamous for illegal crossings by Mexican citizens trying to reach the U.S.


The restaurant is to the left, the Rio Grande to the right. Friends of our host had seen bodies wash up on the nearby banks of the river in the past Luckily, we saw nothing but the boat which was moored at the restaurant.

We visited  an outdoor market that sold just about anything and everything you can imagine. On one side of the road, the market had stalls that sold clothing, boots, music, prepared foods, fruit, jewelry, toys, and tourist claptrap. The other side of the road had vendors who simply backed their trucks into a spot. There were cages of goats, chickens, bags of manure, straw, saddles, and gardening equipment. The day was drizzly, so there was mud everywhere. Quite an experience. We bought some strawberries and oranges, which were delicious. Noticeably better than what we find in the stores here.

Back to the reality of winter, it has been a bit of an adjustment. As I drive to and from work each day, I pass a favorite tree. In my mind it is the “196th St. tree”, as it is at the corner of 196th Street. I take photos of it on occasion. It always impresses me to see the tree standing strong against anything that comes its’ way. A few weeks ago, the snow bumped the bottom of the “Stop” on the stop sign.


The tree is across the road behind the pile of snow..



The road tracks are in the foreground. This was taken this past week. This is what spring is looking like here.

And finally, my granddaughters. They are busy, busy girls. All three will be having birthdays soon, and will be 7, 5 and 3. All of them love to take photos with my camera. I love that the photos show the world from their point of view, and shows what is important to them. I have many  photos of their cat, Chamberlain, and almost as many of our dog. They also take photos of their toys, books and people in the family. I just let them have the camera, and I look at them once in a while, deleting all of the ones with fingers on the lens or blurry. Here are just a few……


An illustration from a favorite book.


A kid’s-eye view of the powder room.


The beloved (and extremely patient) Chamberlain

Hopefully, this post will publish just once, and my technological issues are in the past. It is frustrating to fight with the platform when I just want to write and post a few photos. I don’t understand why that is so hard…it is either me or the platform, so I prefer to blame the technology, rather than blame myself!



  1. I think it would be very cool to have swans. Such graceful birds.

    But oh my God at the snow! That would kill me.

    Isn’t it cool that there is so much variability in culture within the country?

    • We love the swans. Too bad they are only here because of the cold. It is amazing to me that with so much variability in our culture that we are able to agree on anything.

  2. Beautiful swan – I’m glad the beauty got to moving. I was afraid that was going to have a sad ending.

    I can’t imagine a winter like yours – I think that’s a sign I’ve been in Arizona too long! I’ve been to Texas a few times. Nice place to visit. I know it was cooler than you’d hoped, but at least it was a short reprieve from the usual!

    • Yes, Texas was a reprieve, and much too short. Our area is gorgeous in the summer. I love it then. But that is a too short time, as well.

  3. I LOVE this post. You had me worried about the swan, indignant about lead in the water, excited about the South, wanting to start a travel blog called “Tourist Claptrap,” and nodding knowingly about heaps of snow around street signs and the beauty of seeing the world from little kids’ POVs.–Jocelyn

  4. Ran across your site from “Otto’s Son”, where I saw your comment. Seems like you’re from the northern climes too, I still have snow in the front yard despite a day when it got up to 64f.
    I’ve travelled through Texas also, more times than I like. Not my cup of tea, their politics or…….whatever.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: