Proto-spring is here. The weird snow drifts of about two weeks ago are nearly gone, with only a few diehard patches here and there. In the case of our lawn, they're only in the northern exposure zones, which are shaded most of the time by the walls of the house. Enormous puddles have formed way out in the back of the back yard. Yea! for liquid water.
Also, I heard the tatatatatatatatatatatata of a woodpecker the other day, the day that the snow started to melt in earnest. That has to be good. A harbinger of spring. I'd think it was looking for whatever grubs live in the tree, but I only have a vague notion of the lives of woodpeckers. Perhaps such woodpecker food is there throughout the winter, hibernating, and the distinctive tapping is muffled by the cold. Anyway, I've never heard that tapping in the winter.
On Saturday, we decided we had to go somewhere or other in honor of the warmth, so we drove to extreme southeastern Wisconsin and visited the Jelly Belly warehouse, which gives tours. We'd been there in early 2002, when Lilly was just about the same age as Ann is now. When considering the trip this time around, I asked Lilly if she remembered the first time. No, she said. Sigh. That means she doesn't remember Disneyland, either, and will want to go back.
The JB facility is not, I have to say, where Jelly Belly candies are made. That's elsewhere. A lot of JBs are stored in this building in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., so it is a real warehouse. To take the tour, tourists (in the most literal sense) ride in a vehicle dressed up to look like a train, and on the slow drive around the warehouse stop sometimes to watch videos on large screens that detail how the beans are made. Artwork made of Jelly Bellies, or at least large photos of such artwork, are on display. Among others that have had their portraits done in Jelly Bellies are Elvis Presley, James Dean, Ronald Reagan (of course) and Margaret Thatcher (huh?).
While waiting in line for the tour, a wall covered with JB-related photos and press clips is available for viewing. The Jelly Belly candy story goes back into the 19th century, or at least the story of the company does, because the beans are actually a fairly recent invention: 1976. Just another example of sometime simple and cheap (jelly beans) being re-imagined as something more complicated and expensive (Jelly Bellies). Previous to the invention of JBs, the Herman Goelitz Candy Co. had based its success on candy corn.
There was an article from a late 1928 edition of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat about one member of the Goelitz family, a fellow who, at 80, was still on the road as a drummer in the Midwest for the candy company. I didn't have a pen, so I didn't take down the headline exactly, but it was something to the effect that "this octogenarian isn't going to give up being a salesman." What got my attention was the use in the head of the word octogenarian. Would any newspaper do that now? I had to wonder.
Labels: food and beverage, pleasant weather, Wisconsin