Spring Has Arrived!: Propane News - May 2018

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Holy ice storm, Batman! Wasn’t April an awful month. Stayed cold, wet, and icy. Now, you are probably thinking, why is my propane supplier complaining about cold weather? It has to be good for propane sales! Well, yes, it did extend our propane heating season by many weeks, for which I am grateful. But, just like you, we are all sick of winter and craving warm spring temperatures and some relief from Old Man Winter.

Propane prices started to back off a little the first week of April, but with the cold hanging on all month, prices reversed the trend and have climbed steadily. At April’s end, propane prices are in the range of what we saw in February. I’m sure with warmer weather finally here (please cross your fingers), we should see some price relief.

Over the years, when we have had milder winter periods, I may have requested that a prayer or two be said on behalf of your propane supplier, for cold weather would be a good thing. I assume you responded with the appropriate appeal to higher powers, because lo and behold, cold weather always seemed to follow. This spring, I think it was in mid-March after some brutal cold, I received a note from one of our wonderful customers asking “Can we stop praying for cold weather now?” I had a chuckle at this note from Keith, and by mid-April I thought of calling him up and asking if he would please stop praying for any more cold!

Lots of tragedy these last months, with the Humboldt Saskatchewan bus crash, the people killed or injured in the Toronto van rampage, and any number of other calamities which seem to take place in ever increasing frequency. When you think you’re having a bad day, think of what the folks associated with these events are going through. I would imagine any prayers for them would be appreciated.

Usually we see the barn swallows arrive back to inhabit our barn for the summer about the middle of April. Not this spring, though, didn’t see a one until the first warmer day, about April 26. Two barn swallows showed up, and then within a couple of days it was like the bus pulled up. Lots in the barn now, dipping and diving after bugs (mosquitos, I hope). Red-winged blackbirds showed up in the first part of April, pond still frozen, no bugs to eat, so the bird feeder took a beating. Lots of robins around early April, and with the frozen ground, they spent a lot of time pecking at the sumac cones for food (I wonder if a mouthful of sumac tastes like a dew worm?)

Canada geese normally show up in March to stake a claim for a nesting spot at our pond. Too bad the pond was still frozen. These two geese walked around on the ice for weeks waiting patiently (I think) for the water to appear. They did waddle up by the house several times, eating at what grass they could find and leaving souvenirs to mark where they had been present.

Early morning, just after sunrise a couple of weeks ago, I looked between our barn and the garage into the field behind the barn, and observed a coyote in that field catching mice. Well, at least I think that was what he (or she) was doing. The coyote would move to a spot, and then stand motionless for some time, looking intently at the ground, then would spring up, sometimes on all four legs and other times only extending its front legs as if to pounce. Sometimes the muzzle was into the grass, other times not. Always great to see nature in action.

Speaking of nature in action, we have put up bird houses to attract bluebirds and tree swallows. Well, we have been successful in attracting both species, and they were frequenting these bird houses. The nature in action part comes in when those darn English sparrows killed the bluebirds and the tree swallows in the bird houses. What a shame to see these magnificent birds pecked to death. I have started to carry a 410 shotgun with me when I’m around the barn, hoping to reduce the sparrow population. I think they know what’s going on, because they are staying out of range. Well, at least for now.

Had a trip to the emergency ward a couple of weekends ago. The weekend was extremely windy, and I was out taking down a rather large ash tree at an entranceway between two fields (another casualty of the Emerald ash borer). While cutting up this tree, the wind blew some woodchips into my eye under my safety glasses. I’ve had dust in my eyes before, and after some work and tearing up, the material usually washes out and I’m good to go. Not this time. Turns out I scratched my cornea pretty good. Couple days of antibiotics and the eye healed right up, though, which was good because it was very uncomfortable.

In the ice storm in April, we lost part of a maple tree down by the barn. Just losing this one piece of tree was a surprise, considering the large number and age of the trees around the house. My guess is we won’t have much spring now, it will probably just jump straight into summer. Then we will all be complaining about how hot it is. Should you find yourself at a gardening centre in the next week or so, use the utmost caution or run the risk of being trampled by all the overzealous gardeners wanting to finally get their hands in the dirt.

Next newsletter will be in October. I think I’ll try to do more fishing this summer, but then I think that every spring.

Remember to be safe around the water this summer, maybe pick up a new hobby or set a fitness goal. Whatever you do, do it with zest.

Your support is always appreciated, and it helps keep the grandkids in shoes.

 

Peter Rivers

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