You don't need a calendar to know that spring is around the corner when you have critters around.
Us humans aren't the only ones who get cranky and restless when the weather is oppressive, but while we live mired in the dark days of winter convinced that it will never end, somewhere deep in their marrow they know sunny days are coming.
And they start pinging.
The dogs were the first to bust loose.
All winter long they contentedly went through their routines peacefully, never showing even the slightest inkling of restlessness — until the spring spark kindled.
And fences, well it appears they're no match for the spark.
One went under, one over, and while their adventure only took them one field away, they seemed to think they were on a world-class vacation.
It would have been fine had it just been a canine bug, but no, apparently it infected everyone.
Next the filly caught the fever and went through the fence, its jolt apparently no match for the spark.
Luckily her stomach dominated and she never made it past the first sprig of green she saw ... all three times she ran away.
But the real shocker was the chicken.
The first time she bobbled under the fence and went on a walkabout, making it a couple hundred yards down the road before the sound of the feed room opening won out and brought her zigzagging back at top speed.
Sadly a full belly of corn only weighed her down till the next day, incidentally about the time the wind kicked in again.
While she had clearly chosen a poor day to go on another walkabout, since she was nowhere in sight there was nothing to do but toss some corn on the ground and hope she made it back in time to roost.
By the second day — which dawned on the same, unrelenting winds — still no chicken and no daily egg. It seemed she might have made the mistake of stretching her wings and been blown away, joining the eastward-bound tumbleweed pilgrimage.
Nothing left to do, the only hope was that perhaps she would emerge from some hidey hole when the wind stopped, or at least begin gifting some lucky Texas family with her morning egg as thanks for taking her in as she tumbled by.
Three days passed and the winds finally calmed, but still no chicken. The only thing that even indicated she had ever existed were long black feathers scattered on the floor — not a good sign.
Just as it seemed sure she must have been preyed upon, there was a scurrying sound in the roof.
Grabbing a length of wood, I used it to jab at the ceiling, satisfied to hear the killer scrambling away in terror.
And then the sounds of garbled, panicked clucking followed the racing feet.
Elation was short lived as a quick inspection revealed no openings through which she could have crawled, or through which to bring her back.
How she got into the ceiling is a secret that will likely stay trapped with the eggs that are no doubt wedged between the rafters where she huddled for three days.
It took a ladder and a crowbar to get her free, and of course, like nothing had ever happened, she resumed scratching as soon as her feet hit the ground.
The fever must have run its course and it appears it was just the thought of spring that revved everybody up, with the reality of hot sun rays turning them into scatter rugs with feet ... scatter rugs with twinkling eyes who are no doubt already planning for their next spring break.
Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at:email@example.com or on the web at: www.insearchofponies.blogspot.com