Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Has Sprung and All Is Quite

So, here we sit on the first day of Spring.  The sun is just rising over the hills to the east of Plains, the buttercups are in bloom and it has all the appearances that it's going to be a nice day.  May even have to hit the trails a little bit on my run today.

The only down side is that the air is pretty smokey from all the open burning that is going on.  One of the unique things about living in the rural forest areas is learning a little bit different cycle of life.  You have the tree cutting season - trees cut for lumber or firewood and the limbs & branches all get piled into nice big slash piles.  Then, in the fall and spring - you burn them up.  And, in the spring, you also get the farmers and ranchers buring the old dead grass along fence lines and irrigation ditches. 

Even though the smoke is sometimes a bit of an irriatant (I have to admint to being thankful that I don't have any asthma type problems), burning a slash pile is also a bit of fun.  I generally have 2 to 3 piles a year on my place (mostly from firewood debris, fallen limbs, dead trees, scrap wood from home projects, etc.) that I have to take care of.  Maybe it's just the kid in me; but, I still get a kick out of lighting up what is, essentially, a giant bonfire.

Which brings me to a bit of a digression and a happy old memory.  Back in the day, the annual Butte Central - Butte High Football game always kicked off the new school year.  One of the traditions at Central was the bonfire the night before the game.  It used to be held behind Tech at what is now the HPER parking lot.  The cross country team would make torches out of wood and diesel soaked rags.  We would run them down the hill around the football field, circle the big old pile of wood, then toss the torches into the pile to light it up.  It was a great time - nothing says fun like little pieces of burning cloth dropping onto your arms and legs as you run downhill towards a screaming frenzy of high schoolers.

At any rate - back to the present.  After last weeks state wide rush of St. Paddy's Day runs - everyone seems to need a week of rest.  Really not much going on this week.  The Wheat of Montana Run in Missoula and the Handicap Run in Bozeman.  At least one, small local fun run in Missoula also (being done as a senior class project by one of Anders Brooker's Hellgate HS runners - Ashley Mix).  But, that's about it.  No big, super serious competitions.  And, there's only a handful of events next weekend also.

But, then April comes about and things start to heat up.  More of the bigger road races start to pop up regularly on the calendar.  And, the HS and College track teams get into full swing.  So, enjoy the quite while you can.  Because, before you know it, the wild and crazy days of spring, summer and fall are going to be here and we'll be awash in events and activities.

So, for this weekend, I plan to enjoy the buttercups, get out in the sunshine a bit, do a few household chores and maybe even catch a little bit of March madness.  But, after that, I'll................................................

See you on the Roads, Tracks and Trails

The Muddy Buzzard

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