The little glimpse of spring we recently had, when the temperature approached 80 for a few fleeting hours, was fun while it lasted.

But for crying in the mud (literally), this area saw one heck of a lot of cold and wet weather during the latter portion of winter.

On some of the sloppier days we’ve experienced (which always seem to happen on Sundays – never Wednesdays), it has been funny to watch the reactions of the animals around the remote Texas County outpost (a.k.a. home) where my wife Wendy and I hang out. Like their human counterparts, they seem to be tiring of standing water and spongy ground, and have more or less taken to avoiding it whenever possible.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

During the relatively frequent hours the rain has been in the process of falling, the horses and donkey have seemingly gone into a temporary trance, and stand motionless in or next to their designated outbuilding. The 2 1/2-decade old Arabian, Big Sur, usually acts as undisputed king of his domain and often seems to have a problem with allowing his subjects to enter the shelter of the old hay barn. But during this extended mushy season, his highness has relented a bit and graciously offered his peasant pasture mates access inside the palace gates. Even little ol’ Abe, the donkey and court jester, has been given permission to get out of the dank weather, and seems to have a smile on his typically dour face when the rain stops and he leaves the royal shelter.

Meanwhile, the outbuilding cats haven’t often ventured outside their outbuilding, but can regularly be seen hanging out on objects next to windows, enjoying the fact they aren’t outside and probably daydreaming of warmer, drier, more rodent-friendly times to come when they will be.

And while they normally range freely and search almost from sunup to sundown for bugs or other tidbits of succulent organic matter, the chickens have taken entire days off, staying balanced on their native wood perches and never setting foot outside the shelter of their room on the side of the garage. I guess nasty wind and rain can wreak havoc on a hen’s ensemble (especially the Don King-like do atop the noggin of Miss Tilley, our stylish silver lace Polish), and Jerry, the Jersey Giant rooster, seems to be aware of that fact and does the gentlemanly thing by not forcing any of his ladies to exit.

In similar fashion, the Welsh Corgis have on many occasions during this run of sloshy weather cut way back on their general movement. Rather than dealing with the mess beyond the laundry room door for any length of time, they’ve instead been content to go out and do their business once in the morning and once in the evening and spend the bulk of the rest of the day in horizontal mode inside the humans’ warm and dry cave. Of course, that comes naturally to a land manatee like Jamie, but even the perma-pup Gertie has joined in on the moratoriums of movement and spent entire days in pause mode rather than running half wild outside as she usually does.

Of course, Wendy and I have at times been the example the animals were following – like last Sunday when it was about 38 outside and rain fell pretty much all day long. As we did little but watch Hallmark Channel movies all day (hey – they weren’t “chick flicks,” they were quality motion pictures with poignant story lines and fine acting), the animal contingent followed our lead and laid as low as possible (especially the dogs, who laid all the way down).

While days like that are welcome rest periods that should definitely be taken advantage of now and then, it’s hard not to long for an extended stretch of sunshine and 78-degree warmth. Escaping reality and hanging out indoors has its merits, but it’s tough to beat getting out in the Ozarks hills when the weather is right.

Obviously, another spring officially began this week, but sheesh, winter ain’t giving up easy and there might be snow on your daffodils as you read this. Oh well, I understand that winter can sometimes hang tough in these parts (and I’ve lived on other parts of the continent where the story is the same), but I’m so ready for the weather to warm up – and stay that way.

I’m ready to cut grass, swim in the lake, and grill burgers. I’m not too keen on the idea of continuing to have to put on a knit cap and heavy gloves when it’s time to go out and feed members of the menagerie.

The good news is, it surely won’t be long before the warm-up sets in for good. And not long after that, it’ll be 100 for weeks on end.

For the record, I’m not complaining. It’s all just part of life in the Jillikins, and I’m totally good with it.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email:  ddavison@houstonherald.com.

The fashionable Miss Tilley, a Silver Lace Polish hen, doesn't like the kind of weather that has been common in the Ozarks over the past couple of months, because is wreaks havoc on her hairdo.

The fashionable Miss Tilley, a Silver Lace Polish hen, doesn’t like the kind of weather that has been common in the Ozarks over the past couple of months, because is wreaks havoc on her hairdo.

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