For over two weeks now, the sun has shone brilliantly and unfailingly here in Northern California. Ever since the last snowstorm earlier this month, in fact.

The blanket of white recedes a bit more each day, as temperatures reach 60+ degrees when the sun is at its peak.

The meadow shows half-bare ground now. It’s interesting to see just where the sun shines the most and where it shines the least — very easy to determine with the snow patterns.

I’m somewhat surprised that the blanket of snow on the south/southeast side of the barn is nearly unbroken; that area must get less sun than I thought.

Cat Rupert picks his way gingerly around the remaining snowdrifts, which is funny to watch. He spends more and more time outdoors each day.

James and I have gotten into the habit of eating our lunch on the back patio, which he calls the “Sky Deck” because of the excellent view of the meadow, the mountains in the background, all framed by that glorious big sky.

It was quite warm on the Sky Deck yesterday. After eating, we removed our shirts and soaked up the sun for half an hour. We’ve been doing that for a week and think that our dispositions have improved as a result of getting more vitamin D lately. It also seems to be boosting our energy levels.

The sun doesn’t dip behind the mountain until 4 p.m. now; during the height of winter it disappeared by 1:45.

But is winter really over? I don’t think so.

In California in the first part of February, we often experience what residents call “false Spring” or “faux Spring”. This often happens after severe storms at the end of January. Suddenly, the sun comes out and STAYS out, day after day. Temperatures rise, along with hopes for winter to be over.

If the period of sunshine and warmth is protracted enough, buds appear on the bare trees and daffodils arrive early.

But Mother Nature can play tricks by suddenly bringing on a freeze, perhaps accompanied by snow. Back to winter for another month, maybe as long as six weeks.

According to the weather forecast, we’re about to experience colder weather this week. Today is the first day it’s been overcast, and snow is predicted on Thursday.

James and I took a walk around the area yesterday afternoon, noting that all the snow is gone under the stands of evergreens. As we wandered along the trails, whiffs of pine needles assailed my nostrils. Occasionally we encountered pockets of warm air, as though we were entering a “hot spot”.

But it doesn’t feel like Spring just yet. I ain’t got the fever, so to speak.

Tell that to the meat-bees and stink-bugs which are already making an appearance! Please go away and come back some other day.

But you raucous yet beautiful bluejays — you can stay! It’s nice to see y’all again.