New season puts spring in your step
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
Winter is over, meteorologically speaking, and not a moment too soon.
While late March and early April can feel a lot like winter, the days are getting longer and the daily average temperature is on the way up. The Alberta clippers of January and February are gone for another year. I will not miss them.
The first day of spring is prescription-strength medicine for cabin fever. No matter what the thermometer says, it’s time to lace up a pair boots and go for a walk. Granted, an early spring hike may require long johns and coveralls. It’s not impossible to have snow, sleet, wind and ice, all in the same afternoon.
Still, the air has changed. March smells like hope. Take a deep breath. It’s there. Old Man Winter has released his chokehold. Now it’s no big deal that my gloves have holes in them.
Get out in the timber and see what’s going on before the ticks and mosquitoes wake up. There are probably a few antler sheds that the mice haven’t found yet. A few may not be on the ground yet. I saw a buck still wearing his antlers last week.
Right now sheds are easier to see than they will be a month from now. Experienced shed hunters say it’s easier to spot sheds on the ground during overcast days. Don’t be discouraged by a sunny day.
Sunshine or clouds, the hunting makes the finding worthwhile.
There are people with the misguided notion that if it’s warm enough to head for the hills, it’s warm enough to break out the tools and start the yard work.
Winter winds left enough limbs scattered around my yard to have a wiener roast for the whole sophomore class. They have been lying there since late December (back then, it was hunting season and there was no time to mess with them). I keep hoping a bunch of beavers will drag them off to build a dam. It’s a good thought, but not terribly realistic.
The fact of the matter is, those limbs will get picked up. The big ones would stop a lawn-mower blade. But, because no mowing will be happening for a week or two, they are not hurting anything in their present location.
Besides, historically mid- to late-March weather features everything from tornadoes to blizzards. In March 2006, we had both about a week apart.
With that historical precedent in mind, there’s no point in picking up branches until the mower is headed straight for them. Between now and then, there could be another crop on the ground, or somebody else might clean them up.
In the meantime, I’m going out scouting for mushrooms. The bark may have slipped off an elm tree that I haven’t noticed before. I might find some morel nesting areas or a hidden spore deposit.
I know it’s a longshot. But everything’s new again in the spring, and that’s reason enough to try.