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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

(No, no ranting about the sinister machinations of the global technocratic oligarchy today!)

As Ol’ Robbo recalls, in The Two Towers when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, in their pursuit of the orcs who have captured Merry and Pippin, come down out of the East Wall of Rohan and first set foot on the early spring grass of the Wold, Legolas exclaims, “Ah, the green smell!”

I’ve always loved that expression. And it’s true: There is an odor which is simply that of plants growing. I couldn’t begin to describe it, but I know it immediately when I smell it.

I mention this because I caught a whiff of it yesterday afternoon. Soon!

(And on that subject: Hello, pollen, my old friend! It’s good to sneeze with you again.)

Ol’ Robbo put in some time trimming up his roses this morning. I also removed the last of the cages surrounding some of them. Since the advent of Decanter Dog the deer have stopped coming into the yard, so a year or two ago I did a test run with one or two bushes. Nothing seems to have nibbled on them so I decided to lower shields completely. Frankly, I was getting tired of that corner being staked and wired like the Capitol Building. (Heyoooo!!)

I also cleaned up the barbee in anticipation of tomorrow evening’s DST first cookout of the year. The poor thing is really starting to fall apart. There are several holes rusted through the sides of the kettle and as all the brackets also have fallen off I’ve had to improvise new ones with coat-hanger wire. But at least I bought it a nice, new grill to start the year. So long as burning coals aren’t falling out and landing on my feet as I cook, all is well.

Finally, I had noticed a while back that the newest of the half-whiskey barrel planters out front wasn’t draining. Turns out that nobody had bothered to drill any holes in its bottom, and we had an awful lot of rain over the winter. Ol’ Robbo does not possess a working drill at the moment, but I thought how hard could it be just to knock a few holes through with some sort of young spikes I have and a hammer?

Well, turns out the answer is pretty durn hard. My theory was good enough but that barrel wood can be awfully tough.

And just as I caught myself across my knuckles with the hammer for the third time, I swear Mrs. R suddenly appeared and said, “Oh, when you’re through with that, can you also do……?” I’ve noticed a pattern with this sort of thing: Just as Ol’ Robbo is at the worst part of one job, his sacramental partner materializes with instructions for the next. Mrs. R is naturally endowed with many female traits and talents, but I really think this is one of them they must teach in Wife School.

Finally, speaking of such things, I notice the many cardinals which frequent the Port Swiller Manor feeder and, at least over the winter, generally tolerate one another (I have literally seen ten pairs of them hanging about the feeder at once), have now gone back to territorial skirmishing, constantly chasing each other all about the yard. Yep, definitely getting to be that time of year.

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