Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Windy April Ride

Hello, strangers! How was your Easter? Mine started out well, but ended with a severe attack of the collywobbles. The Micawber innards were unsettled for a week, but by last Sunday Tallulah and I were ready to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

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The Sunday after Easter is a day of sun and wind. Quite a lot of wind, as a matter of fact - 15 to 30 miles an hour, with gusting up to 40 - the kind of wind that makes a cyclist think carefully about her route. On the bright side, it's actually warm enough for shorts. After a careful shave (and the first nicks of the year), the Micawber legs are ready to stun the world with their blinding whiteness speed.

Several days of much-needed rain, followed by balmy temps, have brought a haze of green to the fields. The sandhill cranes have been back for a few weeks now; if you look closely you can see a pair in the photo below:


It's good to be out and about again, especially on a day like this. Old red barns show up spectacularly against the blue spring sky:



We pass an interesting-looking pair of sheep. (Yarn on the hoof, thinks the fibre-lover.) The one in the foreground watches me closely as I go by, but as soon as I stop for a photo it turns away....


... and quickly scurries to a place of safety behind its pal (who never stirs a step the entire time - obviously the braver of the two).


Fraidy-sheep may not be brave, but he's got an amazing set of horns that reminds me a bit of Snowcatcher's bighorn sheep.

We turn onto a road that runs through a marsh, and here we see the first catkins of the year. Some are pale green with tiny yellow tips:


Tallulah is rather taken with them...


...but I fall in love with these rosy-tipped beauties a little farther on:



Everywhere the soft tints of spring are slowly taking over from the browns of winter.


More catkins, seen through a screen of red-twig dogwood (with bonus hawk flying far above):


While taking the above, I get my first mosquito bite of the year. Yep, winter's over.

We turn another corner and climb up to the high prairie, where the wind fairly shrieks across the fields. Friendly cattle turn to look as I pass:


After battling the wind for a few miles more, we stop under a tree for a snack and a rest. The wind is at our backs (for the moment) and the overhead view takes a lot of beating:


There are blackbirds at the end of the road, enjoying Sunday meeting:


Clouds have been massing behind us, and the sky takes on a murky hue as we turn towards home.


We pass an old prairie school, now closed but still lovingly tended:


About five miles from home, the wind eases up a bit (whew!) and the clouds begin to break.

We pass through another marshy area and stop to listen to the frogs. Encouraged by the warm weather, they're a-courtin' with a vengeance. This quiet-looking pool is positively throbbing with amphibian passion:


Now that the sun is out again, we can take a shadow shot:


Then it's back on the bike and over the last few miles to home, where it's a relief to get out of the wind and into the quiet.

A good ride.

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How have you been?

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