A Whiff Of Spring Is In The Air

Hoosier Perspectives

Winter may not be over, but spring is almost close enough to taste it.

Published on: March 5, 2012

This is a dangerous piece to write. Today it is sunny and above 50 degrees. Yesterday it topped 60 degrees. By the time you read this, it may be 15 degrees and snowing. Not likely, but it could be. It's Indiana, and it's spring.

The sings of spring are starting to appear. A commercial operator was applying fertilizer in a field I passed by earlier today. A meeting got cancelled in a nearby county because it was dry enough for farmers to work there. The climatologists I talk to say they consider March 1 as the end of the winter season, even though the calendar doesn't, and March 1 is here and gone.

It's time to open up the barn and let the young lambs get some exercise and fresh air. It's still chilly at nights, so they go back in, and we revert to winter mode, then the next day the doors open again. But I'm not taking down the heat lamps from their perch just yet. They're shut off, but they're just a switch away.

Specialists tell us a cold snap now would be rough on certain types of fruit. That's unfortunate because I like to eat fruit, especially cherries, peaches and apples. But it's Indiana. It's why we don't grow many peaches here, except in far southern Indiana. They say blueberries could be at risk in northern Indiana. That's bad because my kids say I need to eat a lot of them. Supposedly they're good at building brain power and helping retain memory. If that's the case, I probably couldn't eat enough to make a difference anyway, as gray as my hair is getting these days.

I remember one March nearly 30 years ago when it was 50 degrees one day, and 25 degrees with a foot of snow on the road the next day. The only good part was it didn't last long. Two days after the snow it was 50 degrees again.

Schools have snow days to burn this year so far. People with wood stoves haven't fired them up nearly as often, yet claim they haven't used that much propane in their furnaces either. It's been a mild one. We usually pay for such good weather, especially in Indiana.

So maybe spring isn't here yet. But it will be soon. The daffodils are poking through. Last year I mowed them off too early. I won't be doing that again. My wife wasn't too thrilled. The tulips will come up next. I don't suppose those I bought and left unplanted in the garage will bloom. Someone said I can still plant them. That sounds like a lot of work.

Maybe I'll use the Captain Stubby method. He claimed that once when he was going to college in the '30s he and another boy were hired by someone in the grounds department to plant tulips. They went around the side of the building and dumped the whole load under a bush. They got paid, but they didn't get called back to work anymore. Come to think of it, I think Stubby may have left that college soon after that.

Enjoy spring when it is truly here. And remember, every day in February and early March with temperatures in the 40s or higher is one less day that could have been zero to 20 degrees. As you get older, you become thankful, even for the small things in life.