It seems we may finally be able to actually say “Welcome!” to spring.  We might hastily add, “We hope you stay awhile.”  We are enjoying the green, violet, and yellow that is popping up around our grounds almost as much as we are enjoying the warmer temperatures, the sunshine and the frogs singing in the evening.

The grass is greening and growing enough that JustBob was riding Chopper (the big lawn mower) through the front yard Tuesday morning for the first time this year. Shrubs are trying to push green leaves from their brown branches. The magnolia tree out front has buds, too, so the other deciduous trees cannot be far behind. Various flower bulbs are pushing leaves and buds up from the ground and adding some beautiful albeit brief splashes of color to our gardens.

Spring projects are underway now that the snow piles have all melted away. One of our volunteers was working in Mary’s Courtyard Thursday. After mowing the grass (for the second time!!), he got to work trimming the grass away from edges of the stepping stones. Thursday morning, the Kindergarten students from Marathon Elementary lent JustBob a hand by collecting sticks in the front yard and putting then in piles for easy pickup. A couple of Liberty Mutual employees were here this week helping with spring cleaning inside and yard work outside. And another regular volunteer dropped off two dock decks that were donated to us. They make a wonderful footbridge across our idyllic swale and prairie garden to the head of the Assisi Trail.

Last week, JustBob started relocating some of the soil dredged from the pond earlier in the year so that area can be leveled and landscaped. The relocated soil will fill in and level low spots in other areas of the grounds. This week, he was working to get the raised garden beds ready for veggie planting. He was tilling, raking and adding top soil donated by Marathon Cheese so he could plant the seeds for the root veggies. Starter plants will have to wait a few more weeks, but at least the beds will be ready for them when it is safe.

The big project is still a week away, though. On Saturday, May 14, JustBob and his crew of volunteers will get to work cleaning up the woods. There is plenty to keep them busy with a number of downed trees that must be cut and moved.

There is never any shortage of work that needs doing, inside or out, so it is a blessing to have volunteers willing to help out. It is also a blessing to be able to work outside, interacting with nature, when the temperatures are mild and the bugs are not so prevalent. But we also know that the rain (and snow) are important to prepare the soil and nurture the plants as they grow.

For the sunshine, warmer temperatures and colors of spring, as well as the rain and snow that make the colors possible, we say Welcome and Deo Gratias!