The other sign of spring (in the "prophetic reading of entrails" sort of sense) is that I once again try to make the cat porch cat-proof.
This sounds like such a simple thing, but it's really not. I have to laugh at the initial assumption that regular screen mesh stapled to a 1x2 would contain the Houdini-with-daggers that is Guido. And if he's not trying to break out, his sister Crow is using her considerable heft to try to assist entropy in any way possible.
Last fall I tried to roof the porch with an oilcloth tarp. Aside from some brief moments when I thought it was going to bring down the entire structure, it worked well. Until it rained two weeks later. Nothing in the construction of the cat porch was rated to hold fifteen gallons of water. (I attempted to attach it in such a way that the water would run off, but my attempt was a complete failure.) Finally the tarp completely ripped off and it stayed that way all winter.
This year I went with a modification -- a sun screen. It's light-weight and "guaranteed" (says so on the bag so it must be true) to let water get through. And one of the accessories was a bag of clamps that could be pounded into wood to hold it on.
Unfortunately this meant getting on the top step of the step-stool with a hammer. Given my fear of heights and my general lack of coordination, this went about as well as it possibly could, by which I mean at least the emergency services didn't need to make an appearance.
Each clamp (and there were thirty of them) had to be held in place over my head while I hammered it into the pine. I got a little better as time went on, but in the beginning I would test the structural stability of the wood by itself with the hammer a few times, then I would test the structural stability of the end of my thumb with the hammer a few times, then my aim would improve and I would finally hit the clamp. I can't remember the last time I've had a blood blister. Before this weekend, that is.
So there we have it. Spring has officially sprung. And if Guido makes it onto the roof again, he's on his own.