There was a lot of work to do in the front yard today. Well, the front yard and the shop. The Bear replaced the wood reinforcement strips in the concrete walkway leading up to the house from the street. The old ones were rotted away, becoming a hazard because they tipped up from the walkway if you stepped on them just so; you could trip and fall over them. It was a big job, because the old wood strips had been placed right into the wet concrete, so chunks of concrete remained when the old wood was ripped out. We didn't know this would be the case, and it was disappointing. Much chisel-work ensued, followed by hand-planing of the new wood to fit snugly into the crevices. It was an all-day job. Not that I did very much of it; I was mostly on sweeping duty.
Meanwhile, the small Bears helped some, played some, rode their bikes up and down the street like speed demons some. It was a beautiful day, with alternating sun and clouds and a light breeze. This has been the nicest February I can remember. Aside from on-and-off snow showers one day this past week, every single day has been warm, sunny and pleasant. I really hope March does not come in like a lion to spoil everything.
In between working like a dog on the walkway, the Bear also smoked salmon for dinner. It was delicious. He really has his technique down pat: brine the salmon from about lunchtime, get the wood chips (apple this time) smoking by mid-afternoon, get the fish in by four o'clock. I baked potatoes and steamed asparagus, and we sat down right at six. The work clothes were in the washer by then, the backyard was cleared of toys and bikes, the front yard was finished and the walkway looked like a million bucks. A good day all around.
The plum trees had their first blossoms of the season today. I actually think I photographed the very first open flower. I was waiting for this day. I watched carefully. I said last Tuesday that we'd have blossoms within the week and I was right. I know these trees. There were more blossoms as the day went on; I checked every couple of hours. By dinner time, I counted fourteen, all on the south side of the easternmost tree, the one that gets the most sun and the least wind, precocious and lightly frothing as of this afternoon.