Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
I’m not sure what this topic has to do with homesteading but it does have to do with our life in the mountains and the first day of spring. We don’t need a calendar or meteorologist to tell us when spring starts at our location. We have our own indicators that are also very accurate. We have a little thing-a-ma-bob that we bought at a craft fair many years ago that does a remarkable job of predicting spring time. It is a small cut glass triangle soldered together with a prism hanging in the middle. It accurately tells us exactly when spring arrives each year. Even though we still have two feet of snow on the ground outside the little prism doesn’t lie about the beginning of spring regardless of the snow.
We purchased this cut glass do-hickey probably 25+ years ago at one of the premium craft fairs in Tallahassee, Florida. We have always enjoyed craft fairs because of the hand made and unique items that are available. I believe it was at that particular fair that we also purchased four rum balls from two nice ladies from Georgia who were selling them for .50 cents each. They were the best rum balls I have ever tasted and they sold out quickly as others found them tasty as well. After walking around looking at the various items and munching our rum balls we noticed we were getting a little buzz from the rum balls. Neither of us are drinkers so we noticed the potency of those rum balls quickly. Did I mention how craft fairs have unique and different items for sale?
We came to a booth where the vendor had made several cut and beveled glass items with prisms hanging inside. We purchased one and have displayed it or hung it in a window ever since. Therefore when we moved here 18 years ago the triangular window in our living room seemed to be the perfect place to locate the cut glass trinket. We noticed one year that on the first day of spring it commenced to emit rainbows. As the seasons went by we found that our house was perfectly situated so that on the first day of spring each year rainbows would suddenly be all over the ceiling. It clearly has something to do with the precise positioning of our house and the rotation of the earth but we have watched for several years now and on the first day of spring the rainbows magically appear.
Of course there are other signs of spring we observe as well that we have become attuned to here in the mountains. None quite as reliable as that little triangular cut glass/prism hanging in the window though. During the winter we may see a single grosbeak at the bird feeder but when spring starts they seem to flock together with 20 or more in each flock. The start of spring is usually when we see our first chipmunk also. With the ground still covered in snow this year on the first day of spring there was a brave little chipmunk sitting on the front steps basking in the sun light. That was also the first time we observed a robin hopping down the driveway.
When I looked up the term equinox I found that it happens two times a year when the daylight and darkness are about equal with each other (Wikipedia). Our prism and cut glass thing-a-ma-jig and its rainbows coincide precisely with that spring equinox so we have our own tool to tell us when the first day of spring happens. When we had our house built we didn’t plan to have it positioned this way but it just turned out that way. I’m glad we discovered that the position of our house, the spring equinox, along with our prism all come together to tell us exactly when spring starts. It is usually spot on in accuracy but can be a day early or late depending on cloud cover which blocks the sun. That doesn’t change the first day of spring it just hides it from us to be discovered later. The further into spring we get the more the rainbows appear each morning. Some days we will have dozens of rainbows floating around the front of the house and it is mesmerizing to witness this beautiful spectacle each morning.
Again I don’t have a clue how this relates to homesteading but if you attend a craft fair and spot one of these trinkets I would recommend purchasing one and doing a little experimentation with the windows of your domicile. It just may be that a window will be found that will predict the first day of spring like ours does. We came upon our revelation accidentally but the floating rainbows produced each year are so beautiful that they compel a person to stop for a moment just to admire them. Even though we may have been a little tipsy when we came across this trinket initially we have not regretted for a moment making the purchase. The beauty it has provided us over the years simply can’t be measured in dollars.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and their lifestyle go to Bruce and Carol's Blog.
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