Skip to content
March 21, 2017 /

GratiTuesday: The signs of spring

The arrival of spring in Southern California can be very subtle. Those of you who have been (or still are) buried under piles of snow probably scoff at what we consider winter (I know it’s true… I can hear you scoffing). Yes, we had some rain. Yes, we even had some flooding in some areas. But, A) we were whining about being in a drought just last year, B) we don’t have to shovel rain, and C) having to replace our wiper blades is not the same as changing to snow tires.

Some people claim that we don’t have “real” seasons here, but those of us who have lived here for a while know that isn’t true. You just need to look a little closer for the signs. I wrote about the desert wild flower super bloom last week, but there are plenty of indications of spring closer to home.

Photo credit: my talented friend, Mitch Mitchell

The local surfers have traded their full-length wetsuits for short-sleeved wetsuits.

Target has started to display their outdoor merchandise.

Yes, they really are that white.

Horrified that I will soon have to expose my ghost-white legs in public, I purchased my first-of-the-season tube of self-tanning lotion.

The brightly colored hooded orioles have started to arrive from their winter home in Mexico. They nest in our neighborhood palm trees and fill the air with their noisy chatter.

My blueberry bushes are showing their first buds, promising a bountiful summer crop.


As you can see, even in Southern California, the signs of spring are beginning to appear all around us, and I am so grateful that it is here.



Leave a Comment
  1. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread / Mar 21 2017 3:40 am

    Okay, maybe I did scoff just a little since as I look out the windows all I can see is several feet of the white stuff. If you propped those white limbs up outside here, you’d have frostbite in about 15 minutes. 🙂 Enjoy your warmer temps. I’m just jealous. 🙂

    • / Mar 21 2017 4:09 pm

      Yikes… frostbite! I braved temps in the 60s to get that shot – imagine that! Hopefully by the time I put on a pair of shorts and go out in public, those legs will be a little darker.

  2. theunassuminghiker / Mar 21 2017 4:17 am

    Not jealous, we hardly had any Winter here in SW Virginia. Spring is showing everywhere and I love embracing my favorite season. The only downside, as you point out, is those crazy, eye blinding, white legs. Enjoy!!

    • / Mar 21 2017 4:15 pm

      Summer used to be my favorite, but now fall and spring vie for my affection. The signs of the seasons changing may be subtle around here, but seeing the small differences makes me so happy. And, pretty soon, I will be able to show my legs in public.

  3. Anabel Marsh / Mar 21 2017 4:21 am

    Spring announced itself with a little bit of snow here overnight, but it’s all disappearing now. I’m sure I could beat you in the white legs contest! I’m a typical peely-wally Scot (extra pale).

    • / Mar 21 2017 4:21 pm

      I’m have mostly English ancestry so I come by these white limbs naturally too. Sorry that you still have snow, but that should make the upcoming warmer weather that much more welcome.

  4. Joanne Sisco / Mar 21 2017 4:25 am

    I treat any hint of spring in these northern climes with suspicion. I know that a wintry blast is possible any time before the end of April.

    Your view of spring is looking might fine. I’m especially in awe of your blueberry bush. I’m going to have to have words with my bushes. They have never displayed such enthusiasm. I think I might have planted low achievers :/

    Enjoy the sunshine and soak up a little for me too 🙂

    • / Mar 21 2017 4:26 pm

      We have neighbors down the street (same sun/shade orientation) who have had no luck with their blueberry bushes either. I have no idea why ours do so well (especially one of the three), but I’m so happy with our crop. We had to build a cage around them to keep out the birds… we didn’t like sharing.

      I don’t blame you for not trusting the weather. Especially this year, it feels like anything can happen… and probably will.

      • Joanne Sisco / Mar 21 2017 5:27 pm

        Today was 12C. Tomorrow with the windchill will be -24C.
        Nope, cannot trust spring in these parts :/

        I would like to have the problem of needing cages on my blueberry bushes to discourage the birds.

  5. Dan Antion / Mar 21 2017 4:36 am

    It looks beautiful. Please nudge it about 3,000 miles northeast. Maybe it can melt the snow in our yard 🙂

    • / Mar 21 2017 4:32 pm

      I’ll do what I can but no promises. You may want our warmth now, but I’ll be jealous of your colorful foliage in the fall.

      • Dan Antion / Mar 22 2017 9:58 am

        That’s the reward we get for dealing with this mess.

  6. karen207 / Mar 21 2017 4:56 am

    Sunday was spring where I live. Monday was damp and chilly. By the end of the week, the forecast is for snow to recover at least some of the brown grass. But the robins are back! And in the middle of the night, when I take my puppy out, the air feels milder. And with the time change it stays lighter later. I do wish I had many of your signs of spring, Janis (blueberry bush envy), but like you, I’m just ecstatically happy that spring is sort of here.

    • / Mar 21 2017 4:48 pm

      We had a lovely weekend and now we are back to gloomy too. I guess it will be another couple of weeks before spring really settles in and behaves itself. I have my fingers crossed that we don’t get a big wind so the blossoms stay on the bushes as long as they need to. How is Shylah doing?

  7. Liesbet / Mar 21 2017 7:31 am

    I love your signs of spring, especially the birds and the blossoms. My legs have the same white color as yours. I thought California could prevent that, but I overestimated her. We might have to go back to the tropics if we (I) want tanned skin again. As for all those people scoffing about Californian winters, what keeps them from moving here? I know, I know, people have responsibilities. I just couldn’t handle more than one winter up north. I guess the climate trumps anything else for us. 🙂

    • / Mar 21 2017 4:56 pm

      Since I have naturally pale skin and have had melanoma, the closest I get to a tan is the fake kind. 🙂 I guess the seasons are unique everywhere and you get used to the good and bad wherever you are. I’m pretty sure though, at my age, I would have a hard time being happy in a colder climate. But, we give up the beautiful fall foliage that others enjoy, so there are trade offs for sure.

  8. nananoyz / Mar 21 2017 8:03 am

    My legs might be whiter. And I live in Florida.

    • / Mar 21 2017 6:03 pm

      Even if I lived in Florida, I’d have to use a self-tanner to be allowed out in public.:) I like the sun, but sometimes it doesn’t like me very much.

      • nananoyz / Mar 21 2017 6:06 pm

        We are probably better off going that route.

  9. Still the Lucky Few / Mar 21 2017 8:04 am

    Loved your signs of spring! It reminded me of a writing task I always assigned to my Grade Two class every spring. They were always so creative. I wish I had kept some samples!

    • / Mar 21 2017 5:00 pm

      To me, once Target gets their outdoor summer things in and I see “my” oriole for the first time, spring has sprung. It would have been fun to see what your second graders came up with!

  10. Denise / Mar 21 2017 8:24 am

    While the robins stay around here most of the winter, they are now getting quite vocal. Mating season is near.

  11. Ally Bean / Mar 21 2017 9:58 am

    My mind knows that it’s spring here, but looking outside I see grayness and brownish plants not yet growing. That being said, I like your colorful photos that suggest a world in which spring has sprung. Thanks for sharing them.

    • / Mar 21 2017 5:06 pm

      The weekend was lovely, but today is overcast so it’s not quite fully sprung yet here either. I hope within a few weeks… maybe a month, I can put away my winter sweaters and heavier jackets.

  12. Donna / Mar 21 2017 12:07 pm

    Spring has been springing here too (yippee)!! Although not near as warm as where you are…and although we have another weeks’ worth of rain predicted, our weather is now almost consistently in the double digits (10+C). Like you, I am very grateful for that!

    • / Mar 21 2017 5:09 pm

      Yippee is right! We have some rain still in the forecast here, but nothing like what we had (I hope). I am looking forward to setting out our deck furniture and soaking up the warmth.

  13. Ron Walker / Mar 21 2017 4:15 pm

    I don’t think we really had Winter here this yer. It was cold for about 8 days all total, and then only down to 14F a couple times. I imagine we will have a bumper crop of spiders and other bugs this year. Especially mosquitoes.

    • / Mar 21 2017 5:13 pm

      You are the second person to say that they really didn’t have a winter. We have had such strange weather everywhere the last few years. I remember when I was growing up, mosquitoes were more of a “thing.” We don’t see them here as much anymore… which is a good things because they LOVE me.

  14. Ron Walker / Mar 21 2017 4:16 pm

    Whoops, I meant “year”. This keyboard or my brain is off a bit.

  15. Alice / Mar 22 2017 2:31 am

    Your oriole photo is stunning. Color, composition, depth — wow!!

  16. Ann Coleman / Mar 22 2017 11:57 am

    Those are wonderful signs of spring!

  17. patwdoyle11 / Mar 22 2017 2:20 pm

    For me, it’s the forsythia in bloom that tells me it’s spring – a leftover from when I was a kid and we had a yard-full. With our super-mild winter and crazy March, my forsythia is brown from early bloom then freezing. But the daffodils are showing true fortitude. I laughed out loud about the short-sleeve wetsuits! In my neighborhood it’s the runners in shorts – a sure sign of spring which I have not seen yet. But our neighbor mowed his lawn last weekend! Ack. Another sign! Hubby has refused to do ours yet …as has anyone else on the street – so we’re not yet “that house”. (and my legs are also pale white….)

    • / Mar 22 2017 6:31 pm

      We don’t have forsythia here, but I’ve seen it on my travels and it’s beautiful! I don’t blame your husband for not mowing the grass, I’d put that off as long as I could (even if we became “that house”).

  18. Terri Webster Schrandt / Mar 22 2017 8:29 pm

    Yay, California spring, I mean, summer…I mean fall! Aren’t they similar? Being in Sacramento, we see many of these same subtle changes…spring buds and blooms, white legs yearning for the sun, patio furniture out and now on my deck! Your surfing one was perfect! I will really grateful when a certain tree in my front yard (and everywhere) sheds it pollen-producing pods in a few days! Aaaah-Chooo!

    • / Mar 23 2017 10:44 am

      They can be similar, but – as you know – there are subtle differences.Has the pollen been worse than normal this year, or is this an annual sneezathon for you?

      Thanks for the Facebook mention – you are very kind!

      • Terri Webster Schrandt / Mar 23 2017 2:02 pm

        Hope you didn’t mind the FB mention! Pollen is pretty strong this year, luckily only one tree bothers me and their pollen pods got washed away by the rain and the rest are drying up.

  19. Under the Oaks / Mar 23 2017 6:11 am

    Your Orioles are gorgeous! We are waiting for our Baltimore Orioles… CH has the grape jelly out for them already! The Orioles and Tanagers are definitely a sign of spring… 🙂

    • / Mar 23 2017 10:46 am

      I just read an article about their taste for grape jelly! I need to figure out where to put it out for them… hopefully somewhere I can take pictures of them chowing down.

      • Under the Oaks / Mar 23 2017 12:56 pm

        You will have other birds dipping in the jelly! They are a kick to watch!

  20. Gabe Burkhardt / Mar 23 2017 7:47 am

    hehehe self-tanning lotion. You are far wiser than I am. I still haven’t found the self-discipline to avoid that beginning of the season sun burn. Maybe this year…

    • / Mar 23 2017 10:51 am

      Since I try to avoid getting too much sun, self-tanning lotion is the only way I can show my legs in public without blinding poor, innocent people. Unfortunately, fake tans don’t protect against sun burns. Good luck avoiding lobster legs this year!

  21. lisadorenfest / Mar 24 2017 4:00 am

    Love the oriel ad the suffer dude. Nice legs 😉. Happy Spring 🌸

  22. rangewriter / Mar 27 2017 9:59 am

    Enjoy! I’m not ready to cede to spring yet, although my daffys are in full bloom and my maple tree is beginning to leaf out. I have new ski boots on order and I want to try them out before I put winter to bed!

    • / Mar 27 2017 4:22 pm

      I hope you can use those boots this season! But, if not, they will be ready and waiting next fall/winter. The good thing about shoes is that you don’t need to worry about gaining or losing weight over the next eight or so months.

  23. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve / Apr 15 2017 12:49 am

    Those are superb indications of spring…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: