Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

Spring is notably on the way, ushered in by daylight saving time, the first pair of mallards skating on the frozen pond, a pair of varied thrushes, and a host of robins feeding on last year’s apples rotting on the tree.

The melt is well underway, ushering in mud season, although the forecast calls for a chance of snow later in this week.

We have long been regular watchers of the Weather Channel, especially for wake-up information for trends here and for what is happening around the country. It is semi-scientific, explanatory and pictorial.

It may be too early to judge, but today, March 17, the program took a turn that is definitely, for us, for the worse. A new host, Sam Champion, is supposed to add liveliness, I guess, and he and a couple of cute weather girls are now sitting around and making the small talk so common on the network morning shows. It sucks.

From our scientific weather station in West Boesel, we can report that up at Harts Pass, 4,000 feet above and west of us, the snow-water equivalent stands now at 115 percent of average and has leveled off over the past week, while the snow level is down to 116 inches.

Clearing of the North Cascades Highway, says the Washington State Department of Transportation, is planned to begin on the last day of March with an anticipated opening of the road in early May. The lottery at the Mazama Store reflects this forecast, with many more entries for a later date than usual. The game is now up to $5 to enter, so whoever wins will score big-time.

The next free movie at the Mazama Community Club is American Hustle, according to a notice from June Fitzpatrick. It will be shown on Tuesday (March 25) at 7 p.m. Again, no charge, and membership in the community club is not required, although donations are always accepted and appreciated.

Some readers will remember Sam and Pat Duncan, who built the Rogue Ranch, first place on the left after (and partly under) the Weeman Bridge headed west. They moved from there to Heckendorn and then made the big shift to Arizona. “I like more sunshine,” said Sam.

Many years ago, Sam had invented a contrivance, a very large one, that had something to do with jacking up railroad freight cars, as I remember, and when I asked if he was still in the railroad maintenance business, he replied that he now had five new patented products in use. His wife, Pat, a very gifted artist, is still painting and exhibiting regularly at shows in the area.

A wonderful couple, they made their basement and copying equipment available to us, and that was the birthplace of the Goat Wall Street Journal.