There are lots of ’em.  Some show up in the news, others don’t.  Around here, we’ve been working through the list and it’s a prodigious one.

Before we get into the Rites themselves, a book recommendation.  Might help you with all the “Springly Chores.”  Dominic Mann’s book Self-Discipline: How to Develop the Mindset, Mental Toughness and Self-Discipline of a U.S. Navy SEAL.

May seem like an odd opening to the Rites of Spring, but there are several very valuable mind-set items in this book that are worth holding onto.  Oh, and it’s a compact, quick read.  And we’re ALL about those.

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The first benefit of the book is I think it helped Elaine understand me better.  The first rule is “You’re in charge of Everything.”

My ex-SF bro-in-law was over this week and he concurred.  “No complaints and no excuses…ever.” 

How many people do you know like that?  Especially under 40 and not having had military service?

To be sure, everyone I know accuses me of being a control-freak – which is all true, of course.  But I have never been accused of not getting things done, on time, generally on-budget, and to specifications.

Problem in the world today is that in what is increasingly a feminized world, being an in-charge man is not a worthy goal, so much.  Ah, but being an in-charge woman?  Much more vogue. Equality just can’t seem to find the middle.  (This part isn’t in Mann’s book…but in my view, kick-ass people (sex doesn’t matter) just do what my buddy Gaye and I called MSH (make shit happen).  A term we coined in 1973 or 74…been  a while.

Elaine now understands that although I was never in anything more elite than accelerated math classes in my life, the being in charge part does form a cornerstone me, the MSH person.  And it ain’t all bad.  Tax returns say so…

Back on track: one of the other points in Mann’s book is to have big goals and break it down into bite-sized chunks.

This is useful stuff to have in mind when the Rites of Spring are due.

There are so damn many Rites, it’s hard to keep track of ’em all.

Wednesday was a good day.  Bates got the lawn mower fired up while I was losing a small fortune to the market turn.  But that set off the Spring Rite of Tree Trimming.

You see, one of our three on-ramps to the net is ViaSat and if the NRTC can ever figure out how to let the local electric co-op put customers into the computer…  Still, we had 10 MB down and 2 or 3 up…until this week.

What had changed?  The Trees Sprouted.  Huge leaves and these soak up signal (and microwave frequencies) like crazy.  So, if you have an old over-the-air (*but it’s free!) television antenna, look around for leaves.  Want more signal?  Call Bates-Bunyan.

Trimming the fence line used to be a pain, but I got that one licked now.  I have this $25 weed burner from Harbor Fright (sic) that works dandy.  I take a 20-pound jug of propane from the collection (country people never run out) and bungee the tank onto my $19.95 hand truck.  A hand truck, like a good marriage should last for life.  The one purchased back in 2004 at the local Tractor Supply store is still working great.  Hand trucks are a godsend to the serious homeowner with designs on changing everything.

The fence lines look sharp as a tack, now.  And I evened-up the driveway edges a bit too.  E’s convinced I’m a  pyromaniac, but the reason is I’m a fireman’s son…As such, you learn how to use fire.  Everything from soldering / sweating copper to welding and up.

The difference between  a pryo and a fireman (I assume you know this?) is simple:  The pryo has his sexual jollies during the fire.  The fireman waits to get home and it has nothing to do with fire.  Lest you doubt that there are people who can get sexually “off” on fires, have a beer or two with an arson investigator, sometime.

Face it:  Is getting off on fire any weirder than bestiality porn?  But again, I digress.

The calendar has been duly marked with the first day of the lawn needing mowing.  It’s a week later than last year.  Cool spring so far.

With Easter out of the way, we are now ready for another Rite of Spring. Easter’s timing is somewhat borrowed from wiccan spring and pagan festivals and such.

In more modern times, people from protestant states (Washington was…once upon a…) Easter was so important that the State opens the lowland trout season the week after Easter.

Seems to many of the men were taking off to go fishing, rather than church on Easter Sunday, that the religious community lobbied to have the State “support” their agenda.  Look at the calendar, Easter, and when trout season opens.  Some states make it two weeks after Easter….

Sports of other kinds are encroaching on Easter weekend’s. now.  Take the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, for example.  With this, unlike a full day of lake fishing, people could still go to church and pray (for Villanova?) and get home in time to see whether prayer worked.

Might have been football that started spinning holidays into commercial festivals.  Football and turkey…and we’ve gone down hill from there.  Interesting measure of who we are/is/were/gonna-be as a country.

Bugs are starting to come out.  Oh, boy.  Scooter, our bug guy, will be by in coming weeks to get the fresh ones.

The shop has had its first dose of clove oil around the entrances.  The trick is that watered down clove oil (2:1 in water) with a Dollar Store sprayer tends to keep mud wasps away.  I’ve got another of experiments in bug death pending, but don’t let on to PETA.

Speaking of our animal friends, Elaine’s got the first jugs of sugar water out for the humming birds. Four of them were dog-fighting over dinner last night.  The migration path is through this part of Texas, so we can have clouds of the humming birds darting and dashing about.

Another sign of spring is Zeus the Cat.  He’s moved from begging to get into the house to wanting out now.  His two favorite hunting spot?  One is under a huge bush at the storage building, the other is under the bushes that hem-in the screen porch.

The birds will be having their hatchlings in not too long.  Zeus, the patient hunter, will be the main incentive for new chicks to get their flying skills right – the first time.

Zeus, who spent his youth as a feral cat, so from now to October, between the bugs in the forest and slow critters, we don’t worry about him finding food.

Everyone has their own spin on Rites of Spring.  His is eating an occasional black toad.  Afterwards,  he’s nuts.  Ayatoader journey, we think.  That and the mushrooms which will be along shortly…

Another Rite is the shop.

It’s still evolving (along the workstation discussion Monday).  Each of the “stations” has to get air to it, and 50-foot coiled hoses and the compressor manifold will be finished this weekend.

After that, the dust collection system will be installed. I wear a  filter/mask now, but when the dust collector is in, it will be nice and a lot quicker come clean-up time.

Since no one really works on Friday, mornings like this are a fine time to sit down with a yellow pad and make up the “wish list” for yourself.  Under cover of the Rites of Spring (which includes the weed and feed for the lawn in a few weeks, I’m still trying to find a way to sneak the pilot arc plasma cutter into the budget.  Might not make it, but it won’t be for a lack of effort…

Last, but not least, the annual spring into summer change is happening on the ham bands now.  Worked into France (with old-fashioned Morse code) Thursday.  Great signals on 20-meters.  But summer, 20-meters should be back to excellent conditions.  In the Winter months, it’s typically open only a few hours a day – if that – depending where we are in the solar cycle.

Time now for more coffee while we await the jobs report and the open.  All the while pondering “How do blue jays and cardinals fly while gestating an egg?  I wonder if anyone has studied the change in performance at different density altitudes…”

Seems one Rite of Spring here is daydreaming.

Write when you get rich,

George@ure.net

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