There are winter aconites, maple syrup, peepers and warm temperatures. But I don't truly feel like it's spring 'til I hear phoebes singing. I don't really listen for them, or expect them. Just suddenly one day, like yesterday, I hear them and think, "Oh, yeah. It's spring." I trust them 'cause they eat insects. The phoebe's appearance means that enough insects have appeared to support him. I guess it's really the insects I trust, but they're harder to notice. Early birds, early flowers may be mistaken. But that many insects can't be wrong. Granted we may still get hit with a late snow storm and the phoebes will be stuck eating berries for a day or two. But it's really spring.
So, I started spreading compost on the vegetable beds - at least as much as I could shovel 'til I hit the solidly frozen core. Then I turned to cleaning out the chicken coop - unused for about ten years. We were never able to trust the dog around poultry. But as some of you've heard, King died two weeks ago. My consolation is to be able to raise hens again. So I'll be getting baby chicks from Agway in a couple of days. Maybe I'm nuts to take this on again, but I like hens. And I love fresh eggs.