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Friday, April 18, 2014
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Published: 3/24/2013

Finally it's goodbye, winter; hello spring

BY MARY ALICE POWELL

The large bag of salt is depleted and I refuse to buy more, even if it is on sale. I used the last four cups to melt the ice on the patio steps. The more warnings I hear about seniors falling and breaking a hip, the more precautions I take.

The salt is one easy tool for safety. A handgrip on the wall also has been helpful and was a good investment for $6. Nails were in the package and I have a hammer so installation was easy and saved a $25-an-hour fee.

I will never have a handicap ramp because I am not old enough to need one and I have never seen a ramp at any house that had the least aesthetic design. Generally, ramps are drab and sad.

I disagree with friends who say it was a mild winter. It’s a good thing I like my own company because I can’t remember ever spending as much time in the house as I did this winter and seeing game shows I never heard of.

As for cooking for myself daily, it is strange how it reverted to back home traditions such as fried cabbage, salmon patties, and tuna noodle casserole.

My schedule wasn’t as concentrated on downsizing as it should have been, but I did sort a few drawers and cupboards. It’s amazing how many surprises we find in our own possessions.

But even though I had forgotten about the gold-rimmed plates and matching cups I have yet to get rid of them. Suddenly, they have meaning.

I pride myself on maneuvering the car like a NASCAR driver through the snow and ice on the long driveway up the hill and onto the road. That includes driving over the high snow hump left at the driveway entrance by the county snowplow.

I have always had trouble backing a car, but this winter I practiced enough to maneuver it right up to the patio, hitting the garbage can only twice. It was imperative for the car to face out on storm days so that I could rev the engine and head out full speed ahead. I only got stuck once in deep snow.

On the sun porch, the geraniums refused to submit to cold weather. Instead, they grew tall and beautiful and now are radiant with large blossoms that hug the thermo pane windows. They have not been given any Miracle Grow and were watered only every three weeks.

Now the decision must be made whether or not to cut them down before their debut outdoors, which will probably be in early May. Some of the plants have been recycled four years. There is also a begonia in bloom in the collection and the spike plants are also ready for spring.

The 14 additional geraniums that have been in the basement under a plant light also are doing well and are healthy enough to be transferred outdoors in good weather. Saving the geraniums has become a habit. They always seem to be the most beautiful in late fall just before the first frost. That’s when they are rescued.

The gas heater on the sun porch is turned on and the timer on the plant light in the basement is set for 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. I tell myself it’s a frugal move to save buying plants in the spring. What I don’t tell myself is how much my frugality increases the electric and gas bills.

As for the bright spot on the open front porch during winter’s wrath, it’s the big tomcat I have been meaning to trap because he is mean. The two female cats that have been boarders four years are harbored in the garage until the weather breaks, but the tomcat was left outdoors to fend for himself. He’s a big guy, mostly black with brown stripes, and four white feet.

I thought he might not make it on those cold nights or would find another home.

But each day that I ventured onto the porch, there he was, peeking out from under the quilts stacked over the porch chairs.

His faint “meow” seemed to say, “I am still here and hungry.”

And I can still warm your milk. So it is with animal lovers. We’re chicken.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com



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