Sunday, February 24, 2013

Groundhogs Lie

Strangely enough, right around when the groundhog predicted the end of winter, along came winter.  As is seeming to be becoming the norm, November and December were mild, with February giving us the only real burst of winter we've gotten here.  Still, I expected to wake up to spring the day after Groundhog Day.  Just a little bit.
When I was a child, I believed it with all my heart.  For the first few years after being aware enough to know about the groundhog, it was my belief that somehow man had screwed up the works.  Somehow no matter how many times the groundhog said spring was here, I never doubted him.  No... somebody messed it up.  Back then, we wouldn't see bare ground or grass for months on end.  Seasons didn't merely drift by, they arrived with a firm and determined progression and stuck around until the next season just as firmly eased them along.  This is not the raving of some addled old codger (although whether or not that is an apt description is up for debate); it really was that way.  I still look outside immediately on Groundhog Day, hoping for an overcast sky so that he won't see his shadow.  Part of me still believes.
Now it's beginning to look like we might need to add a fifth season.  The plants haven't caught up with this shift yet, so they have a practice run and start greening up very early.  In fact this year that was happening before this February blast, so maybe it should be super pre-spring, pre-spring, and real spring.  The tricky part for the plants is coordinating the weather with their blooming and fruit-setting.  They had a very difficult time last year.  The cherries here on the farm hope to do better this year.
Today I woke to sunshine and blue skies in the bedroom windows.  It's been weeks since it seemed like a good time to wander around outside, so I did a wee bit of looking around out there while the coffee brewed.
Things are starting to happen out there!  They may have to start over, but for now, they're starting to get geared up.  All of the fruit trees have swelling buds on their branches.  The conifers have been busy releasing their cones to the winds, preparing to start up pollen production.  There's a lot going on as they stir in their sleep.
Blueberries are taking off now that they're fenced in.  Lots of weeds though!  

Slim pickens for the birds over in the echinacea patch.

The beautiful Concolor fir on the corner of the yard will soon burst with new tangerine and piney scented growth.

Brave elderberry pushing tiny leaves.  Might have to start over, though.  Let's not have a replay of that bad harvest from last year!  That was pretty devastating. 

There is so much work to do here.  I mustn't waste a single beautiful day.

Rosemary is covered with flower buds.  She seems to do fine flowering in cold weather though.

The Witch Hazel that was hounded mercilessly by both rabbits and groundhogs finally got a foothold when I protected her with flexible spouting one year.  Now you wouldn't know her first three winters were spent being nibbled to the ground.  She's nearly 5' tall.

This is going to be a big problem.  These black raspberries have been dug and transplanted a couple of times now, but they really, really just want to hug the side of the house and grow up through the slats of the front porch.  They have wicked thorns though, so they may not stay there.

Just looking at the things that need to be started on the first warm day - digging up the vigorous sumac and mulberry volunteers, clearing the blueberry patch, figuring out what to do about the wild raspberries and on and on - makes me feel like we've only got a few more weeks to go. Even the groundhog needs to get with the program.
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