With Groundhog Day and its prognostications two days behind us, it is now Feb. 4 (as of the St. Paul Journal's publication date), which puts us smack in the middle of the three-month period deemed as winter. Since the winter Solstice on Dec. 21, there were 10 more days of December, 31 days of January and now four days in February, adding up to 45 days. From here on in, there are 25 more days of February, thanks to Leap Year, and the Vernal Equinox is on March 20 this year, so that adds up to another 45 days.
Will spring arrive March 20? Not likely, no matter who saw their shadow on Sunday. Six weeks from Feb 2 would only bring us to March 15, which is an even more unlikely date, and from that I’d say six weeks of winter is a sure thing, shadow or not.
If I recall correctly, our first snowfall came on Thanksgiving Day, Oct. 14, which is now 113 days ago. If today’s the middle, that would bring us to… let’s see… May 27, a week and a half after the May long weekend, and while we know very well we could see snow then, we sure don’t want to.
Some predict weather by the calendar and some by weather events. My father always said that 90 days after a fog, rain or snow would occur. Going by that, the foggy days of December would give us some sort of unwelcome precipitation at the end of March, and after last week, more in the last week of April, hopefully, but not necessarily in the form of April showers. Even that is a good month ahead of May 27, but here’s hoping that if we must have precipitation then, showers are what we will get.
We definitely don’t want February showers, like we had last week, turning sidewalks into skating rinks and sending the sanding trucks out in time to get people to work the next morning. In Elk Point, enough of us were afraid of the freezing rain warning that we voted to delay our library board meeting, for the first time I can remember.
Compared to many areas of the country, we have received very little snow so far, with our driveway only requiring plowing three or four times, a far cry from Newfoundland’s massive dump that snowed in houses right up to the eaves. Even Vancouver Island, where many go to escape winter, got a sizeable dump and had to close roads and schools.
The islanders, however, escaped having to deal with the extreme cold that we no longer expect as normal winter weather. Years ago, we took -40 temperatures in our stride, just putting on another couple of layers before we went out to do chores, but in recent years, we’ve been spoiled by warmer winters and even -30 has become a rare phenomenon, and one that had our temperatures colder than Iqaluit a few mornings, and on those mornings, we were exceedingly glad for ourselves and very sympathetic for the younger generation now feeding and calving out cows.
I was thankful the I could mostly work from home on those days of bitter cold, and the days of fog, and my husband was quite content to dig into this year’s seed catalogues and hand over lists of his choices for me to order online. He’s chomping at the bit to get the plants that take the longest to start into the trays and under the grow lights, now that he’s harvested a former deck planter full of green onions and is faithfully watering and encouraging another planter filled with spinach. Homegrown spinach in February sure sounds good to me, and he also has a lettuce plant or two to coax along.
We are also coaxing our big front door planters back to life. When we brought them into the garage last fall, the geraniums and other plants were frostbitten, but the spikes were still almost as happy as in midsummer. They are now on a desk under the window in my sewing room and we are excited to see new growth starting on what had looked like dead plants, and maybe even some on my mini rosebushes! Here’s hoping!