And live with it we are. Last March was so benign that we didn’t even fix all the various little flaws in the greenhouses that allowed excess penetration of outside air. But this year is a different story; as each greenhouse is readied for operation I seem to be adjusting doors, attaching new boards and patching the houses’ plastic and plywood skin always in what feels like a full gale. And of course we are doing our part to melt the polar ice cap (if not the remnants of snow in our midst) by burning gallons of propane. And just in case our regular contributions of treasure are not enough for the greedy weather gods, we just added a special little offering, ordering a couple of the tall propane cylinders that we can use for supplementary heat upon hearing that there was a chance for a storm packing possibly significant accumulations of heavy wet snow (the kind that knocks out electricity).
What is so amazing about all of this weather is that spring is truly at hand. Over a week ago, I was unloading the van near Acorn Hall. I kept hearing a “crinkling” noise like a sheet of plastic being crumpled up. And since in our plastic recovering operations a piece or two of blanket-sized plastic will sometimes get carried away in the wind, I start looking for where that crinkling piece might be lodged. I don’t find any plastic. Eventually, I realize that the noise is emanating from the rain garden which having filled with water after heavy rains and snow melt developed a light coating of ice. Now in the clear morning sun the thin ice was melting and basically shattering, each time making that crinkling sound. As I listened and watched the rain garden, a pair of blue birds perched on the roof of the blue bird house that is in the middle of the garden. Earlier that morning we saw our first red wing black birds and then later that day we became aware that the turkey vultures had just returned. A few days later amid snow squalls and strong cold winds, I watched and listened to several groups of sand hill cranes determinedly winging their way northward. They fly high and I could see them approaching from well south of the river and watched until they disappeared quite a way to the northwest.
We can complain about this weather – I know I have been doing so. To me it is colder than midwinter even though the temperatures are not really that bad. I don’t know whether it is my unfilled expectations of spring or whether I should be wearing some heavier clothing. The trouble with the heavier clothing is that as soon as the sun comes out and I am out of the wind, all of a sudden I feel like I am on fire and drenched in perspiration. The sun is packing quite a punch – I have already experienced sunburn and now am wearing my (Tula UPF 50+) hat trying to stave off skin cancer for a while longer.
But given a choice (and no one gets such a choice) I would still prefer these conditions to the unnatural warmth of last year’s March. I enjoyed last March very much. But I did not enjoy the damage to so many trees, shrubs, and plants which leafed out way too early and were caught in the inevitable sub freezing nights of April. And I very much missed most of our local apples and cherries and other fruits which were similarly ruined. Actually, I can recall plenty of unpleasant weather in March; some much worse than what we have experienced so far. I especially remember those late season snows with significant accumulations. If only there was such a thing as a normal; maybe I would choose that. Then again, maybe that would be boring.