In Like A Lion Out Like A Lamb

The phrase “in like a lion, out like a lamb” is a popular saying used to describe the weather patterns in March, particularly in regions with temperate climates. It refers to the transition from the harsh, wintry conditions at the beginning of the month (represented by a lion) to the milder, spring-like weather towards the end of the month (represented by a lamb).

In Like A Lion Out Like A Lamb

The saying suggests that March often starts with fierce and unpredictable weather, much like the behavior of a lion, which symbolizes winter’s lingering grip with its cold winds, snowstorms, and rough weather. However, as March progresses and approaches its end, the weather becomes gentler, warmer, and more peaceful, like the mild demeanor of a lamb.

This saying is rooted in folklore and observations of seasonal changes, highlighting the transitional nature of March weather as it shifts from winter’s harshness to the gentler embrace of spring.

Nature’s Rhythm Seems Disrupted

Experiencing warm weather this March feels unusually out of place. The unseasonable warmth brings a sense of surprise and curiosity, as nature’s rhythms seem momentarily disrupted.

Trees that should still be dormant begin to bud, and flowers start to bloom prematurely, creating a surreal series of early spring scenes against a backdrop that should carry hints of winter’s chill.

This unusual warmth in March serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of our climate prompting contemplation about the broader impacts of climate change on seasonal patterns and ecosystems

Enjoy Some Of The Sites Of The Month

Walking a new trail on a windy day brought a dynamic and moody atmosphere as the clouds swiftly moved across the sky.

Along the trail, I encountered a fascinating array of plant life. The Eastern red cedar trees caught my attention with their pollen cones, adding a touch of seasonal charm to the landscape.

These cones, with their delicate structure, were scattered among the branches, releasing their pollen into the air.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a tree species known for producing pollen, which can be a significant allergen for many people.

The pollen grains are small and lightweight, making them easily airborne and capable of triggering allergic reactions in sensitive individuals during the pollination season.

Additionally, Eastern red cedar trees produce distinctive blue-colored berries that are cones called “juniper berries.”

These berries are not true berries but cones with fleshy scales that enclose seeds. Juniper berries are used in culinary dishes, herbal medicine, and as a flavoring agent in gin production.

Here are several things you can make with juniper berries (Juniperus spp.):

  1. Flavoring for Meat: Juniper berries are commonly used as a spice to flavor meat dishes, particularly game meats like venison, wild boar, and duck. They add a unique, piney flavor with a hint of citrus and are often included in marinades, rubs, and sauces.
  2. Pickling: Juniper berries can be used to flavor pickles and preserves, adding a complex and slightly bitter taste to the brine. They are particularly popular in pickled vegetables such as cabbage, cucumbers, and beets.
  3. Gin: Juniper berries are a primary ingredient in gin, giving this popular spirit its distinctive piney flavor. They are typically combined with other botanicals like coriander, angelica root, and citrus peel during the distillation process to create a complex and aromatic spirit.
  4. Infusions: Juniper berries can be used to infuse flavor into various liquids, including vinegar, oils, and syrups. Juniper-infused vinegar, for example, can be used in salad dressings or as a marinade for meats, while juniper-infused oil can add a unique flavor to dishes like roasted vegetables or pasta.
  5. Medicinal Uses: In traditional medicine, juniper berries have been used for their potential health benefits, including as a diuretic, digestive aid, and antiseptic. They are sometimes used to make herbal teas or tinctures, although it’s essential to use caution and consult with a healthcare professional before using juniper for medicinal purposes.
  6. Baking: Juniper berries can also be used in baking, particularly in recipes that call for a hint of piney flavor. They can be ground and added to bread, cookies, and cakes, providing a unique twist to traditional baked goods.


  1. Toxicity Concerns: While juniper berries are used in culinary applications, it’s crucial to use them in moderation. Consuming large quantities of juniper berries can be toxic, especially if they are not fully ripe or if the individual has certain health conditions. The berries contain compounds that can irritate the digestive system and may cause adverse reactions in sensitive individuals.
  2. Preparation: If you plan to use Eastern Red Cedar berries (juniper berries) in cooking, ensure that they are fully ripe and use them sparingly to avoid overwhelming dishes with their strong taste. It’s also advisable to research specific recipes and guidelines for using juniper berries safely.

Overall, juniper berries offer a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can be used in a wide range of culinary creations.

Making Juniper Cleaning

Inspired by the natural beauty around me, I decided to harvest some Eastern cedar branches to create a homemade vinegar cleaner, harnessing the antibacterial properties of cedar to craft a more eco-friendly cleaning solution.

This eco-friendly cleaner can be a great alternative to commercial cleaning products.

I have read several ways to craft cleaners, so I decided that I was going to experiment with a few methods and see which method I liked best.

I am trying the first method, a juniper/cedar vinegar blend. For this method, you collect a mason jar full of Eastern cedar branches and pour white vinegar over them. Then cover the jar placing it in a bright, sunny window for 10-20 days. Strain out the branches and fill a clean spray bottle with 25% pine/vinegar solution and 75% distilled water to make each batch of antibacterial cleaner.

The method works with all cedar and pine tree branches. I plan on trying this method with an assortment of cedar and pines to see if there is any noticeable difference between the varieties. For now, I will leave that sweet jar of green still on my window sill for some time checking in on it occasionally.


Quaking Aspen Catkins

As I continued my hike, I noticed the graceful catkins dangling from the branches of quaking aspen trees, swaying gently in the wind. The sight of these catkins added a soft, ethereal quality to the surroundings, contrasting with the sturdy presence of the Eastern red cedar cones.

The catkins of quaking aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) are not technically flowers in the traditional sense. Instead, they are clusters of small, flowers grouped on a spike-like structure. These flowers are wind-pollinated and lack the showy petals often associated with typical flowers.

They are scales that protect the developing flowers and pollen. As the flowers mature, they release pollen into the air, relying on the wind to carry it to female flowers on other trees for pollination.

Indian Hemp

Additionally, I spotted seed pods from Indian hemp plants, their unique shapes, and textures adding to the diversity of flora along the trail.

The Native Americans used Indian hemp for its strong fibers, woven into ropes, nets, and textiles. Fibers were valued for their durability and essential for daily life, including fishing, hunting, and building shelters.

As we wrap up this exploration of the age-old adage “in like a lion, out like a lamb,” let’s embark on a new journey. One that takes us through the trails less traveled. Let’s make a pact to embrace the great outdoors, discovering the beauty of nature in its various forms.

I challenge myself and fellow adventurers to hike at least two new trails or visit local businesses each month this year. It allows us to witness the transitions of seasons, landscapes, and experiences.

Together, let’s stride into the wild with curiosity, gratitude, and a spirit ready to embrace whatever weather, be it lion or lamb, that comes our way. Happy trails!

Explore More In 2024 Challenge

24 new to me trails or business locations.

Location #1: Glimmer Falls Richmond, Wisconsin 1/24
Location #2: Twigs Museum Shawano, Wisconsin 2/24

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