Well.

Hrmph.

Lotsa whether weíre having, ainít it? As in, "I donít know whether itíll be hot or cold and I donít know whether itíll rain or shine."

Itís just plain kooky. It hit 70 yesterday and ainít supposed to get above 50 today. Whatís up with that nonsense?

I donít know what to do half the time. If itís warm I want to grab a rod and run to a pond to try to see if I can snag a hibernating fish by accident. But then Iím working, and by the time the weekend rolls around, itís bitter cold again and raining droplets that stay at precisely 32.1 degrees to keep from freezing but are cold enough to sting like some kid pelting you with a BB gun.

Itís ridiculous. Theyíre snowed-in in New York, and I just noticed something really strange the other day as I was looking at my complimentary Trout Unlimited calendar trying to figure out how many days until spring: February, according to Trout Unlimited, has 31 days.

Thatís right, and now you know the real definition of an obsessed fishermen: The folks at Trout Unlimited in the calendar department who put 31 days in February, apparently thinking they could squeeze in a few more fishing days if they did. Come to the office, itís hanging by my desk, Iíll show you if you donít believe me: Trout Unlimited has added three days to February.

My only question: Why not add three days to May? Or June? Three extra days in February is just three extra days to be miserable.

George Harrison had it right: Itís been a long cold lonely winter. Dang if it ainít true. Last weekend was tolerable, actually, and Sunday really turned out to be downright nice. I spent most of the day outside and in the shop relishing the warmth. I have been tinkering around with getting the shop ready to start piddling again. I ordered new bandsaw blades after breaking my one-eighth inch one about a year ago. I ordered one of those and a half-inch blade.

Now, having been so long from my piddlings, in the woodshop I forgot everything my pal Larry Deslatte Jr. taught me about unpacking a bandsaw blade, which is a continuous sharp-toothed loop of metal 82 inches long rolled up and then bound with twist ties. If youíre not careful, this is what happens: When you loosen the last twist tie, the blade leaps out of its coils like a jaguar with teeth bared and claws extended, or Patches in a bad mood, take your pick. This one got me on two fingers and the thumb of my right hand when it jumped up clawing and biting, and I had to go get bandages for all three, cussiní myself for a fool. But I did manage to get it installed on the saw, the half-inch blade, so now I can cut tenon joints rather than my fingers at some point in the future.

On warmer days, I have taken to enjoying grilling something on my little cheapo-depot grill in the backyard on what passes for a patio at my house. I have also taken direction from a friend regarding grilling without the use of charcoal or lighter fluid. Iíve always hated the smell of that stuff, and now Iíve learned about "lump" charcoal and fire starter sticks. Though my friend is a bit more advanced than I am in technique, I have grown quite fond of using firestarters, which are only wood chips in paraffin, and lump charcoal and never smelling that sickly scent of lighter fluid in association with a slab of beef. Just doesnít work for me anymore.

The first set of fire starters I tried must have been faulty because it took me a lot of time and a whole lot of colorful metaphors to get them going. The dog, who always accompanies me on the patio or she pouts terribly, is watching me try to light a fire in the pit with a bemused look as if saying, "Indian canít start a fire. Oh, the shame of it all!"

"Shaddup," I tell her. "You donít even have an opposable thumb, think you can use a grill lighter any better?"

"Never get lost in the wilderness, Tonto," her look seems to say and she stalks off to go roll in the grass while I invent more colorful metaphors. This is another reason why I gave up lighter fluid: I tended to run into lighting difficulties and end up sending up a mushroom shaped fireball that relieved me of my eyebrows. Subsequent firestarters have worked much better, so I guess that one must have been a dud. Besides, I wouldnít go into the wilderness without my butane torch lighter!

Anyway, the cold weatherís coming back, and weíll go from having the doors and windows open all day to running the heaters again. I hate it. Iím so ready for spring. Except for lawn mowing. Thatís the one thing winter has going for it: No grass cutting.