Ideas for enjoying spring, despite the weather

  • Article by: BILL WARD and KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 10, 2013 - 8:36 PM

We want our warm weather — and we want it now. Grab spring by the throat with these out-of-the-box tips.

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Illustration: Eric Hanson Special to the Star Tribune

Spring has ... not sprung, but that doesn’t mean we can’t act like it has.

Never mind this week’s blast of winter. Or the forecast. Or the fact that we can’t ski or Rollerblade, play broomball or golf.

Sure, we could use this intractable weather as an excuse to curl up in the fetal position, whimpering about last year’s lovely weather. But we’re going to follow the lead of local comedian Roz Tarrant. Her plans: “I’m getting a spray-on tan, then calling my friends to meet me at Psycho Suzi’s for a patio pity party.”

So, with equal parts denial and defiance, we offer these suggestions for make-like-it’s-spring activities, weather be darned.

 

Make lemonade — literally

Bundle up the kids and set them up at a lemonade stand in the front yard. Only the darkest of souls will be able to resist, and the kids will likely earn some spending money and learn a thing or three about the business world. For a twist, Johnny Michaels, cocktail director at La Belle Vie, suggests adding a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and some sliced berries. For the grown-ups, Michaels advises fresh lemon juice, a few dashes of white balsamic, salt water and a bit of honey, blended with a Bombay Sapphire and ice. Shake or stir, then top with chilled club soda.

 

Gather the gang for a ballgame

A kickball game, that is. Any and everyone can play, there are no stinging bats (although there may be a few stinging jibes from the peanut gallery), and fielders can wear gloves — winter gloves, that is. Besides, peanuts and Cracker Jack are always in season.

Host a boat party, dry-dock style

Haul the boat out of the garage, take off the tarp, fire up the grill and swap the cooler full of beer for warm libations or spring-fresh minty cocktails. Tiki torches can set a summery mood — and hold up to the dreaded “wintry mix” of rain and snow. As for attire, guests can don colorful plastic ponchos, said Amy Zaroff, owner of Amy Zaroff Events + Design. Plus-side: “If you do have the pontoon party now, the mosquitoes won’t be there,” she said. Life preservers optional.

Go fly a kite

There’s no reason you can’t get your kite on. The cold won’t affect the flight, but the wind might. “If winds are over 20 miles per hour,” said kite maker Barbara Meyer of Maple Grove, “you shouldn’t be out there unless you don’t care that your kite gets ruined.” Meyer recommends plastic kites instead of nylon ones if it’s precipitating. And remember the old Ben Franklin tale: Lightning is not a kite flyer’s friend.

Plant something

The top soil in many gardens should be workable. So plant some pansies or opt for edible greens, including the wildly popular microgreens. You can use your soon-to-sprout crop in one of Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s recipes (see box). Or do what comedian Scott Hansen’s tomato-loving wife did: “She’s grown impatient with the long winter. This year she chiseled away the snow and buried jars of Ragu in the garden.”

Dress un-accordingly

Break out the shorts and the sandals — no socks allowed! Wear Hawaiian shirts, capri pants and blindingly bright colors. You’ll revamp your look and maybe your mood. Take it one step further and draw the blinds, turn up the heat and make like you’re in Cozumel. Now, does shrimp cocktail go better with margaritas, mojitos or sangria?

Be a tough mudder

Grab some galoshes and jump in a puddle. The bigger the splash the better. Let Fido join the fun, too. Sloppy spring is prime time for dog park romps. “The dogs get messier, but, boy, do they have a good time,” said Mark Themig, general manager of Scott County parks.

Fire up the fire pit

Think of it as spring yard maintenance turned into a party. “We definitely have plenty of sticks on the ground,” said Zaroff, the event planner. So warm up ’round the back-yard fire pit and put those sticks you’ve gathered to use: “Go ahead and make s’mores,” she said.

Driveway drive-in

Sure, you can flop on the couch in front of the flat-screen, but why not put up a screen outdoors and soak in some of these sunny cinematic beauties: “Bambi,” “Bull Durham,” “Easter Parade,” “Enchanted April,” “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off,” “The Secret Garden” or “Where the Boys Are.”

 

Bill Ward • 612-673-7643

Katie Humphrey • 612-673-4758

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