For many years now, my husband has declared the 1st of March to be the final day of winter. Mind you, he does not say spring has arrived but for him at least, winter has been given the boot! March 1st says to him that the worst is over and no matter the weather in March; it will continue to improve until once again we will feel the warmth of the sun. He does have a point. Even the hardiest of us cold weather lovers, start looking out our frosted windows and remark, “Goodness, it’s 6 pm and it’s still light outside!” Or, we note that we no longer check and re-check the Sherman Pass WSDOT website for road conditions before heading out. We know that no matter what the road conditions, they are still better than they were in January. Even I, who apparently enjoys Winter more than my spouse, start to get a little antsy. I have been known to head out doors to the flower garden; furtively glancing about to make sure that I am alone before kneeling down and start to dig through the snow looking to see if the crocuses are poking their heads up from the frozen ground. I’ll do the same in my Herb Garden. Did the Thyme survive? How about those Sage plants? The seed catalogs that we have been perusing for weeks, have given way to decision time. Do we order the same Bean seeds as last year? How about we try adding Eggplant this year? I want Spinach and Romaine. He wants Swiss Chard and Corn. How much room do we have and when should the potting begin?
Spring comes hard up here in the Back of the Beyond in Ferry County, Washington. Winter does not give up its icy grip easily. March always promises wind. Lots of wind, but I like to think the wind is blowing winter into the past as it ushers in the warmer breezes of spring. Occasionally in March, we will have a warm day and by that I mean a day of 50 degrees. We both will stand on the front porch, taking a deep breath in while marveling at how good the sun feels on our faces.
March means the raucous calls of the first birds to return in spring, the Red Wing Black Birds. I have a love –hate relationship with them. They decimate my bird feeders and frighten away the sweet little chattering black eyed Juncos and tiny Chickadees that I have faithfully fed all winter. But on the other hand, the Red Wing Black Birds truly are a harbinger of spring and for that, I welcome them. In March we wonder when the first Gold Finch will return and how about those Hummingbirds? Should we make a wager?
Losing a layer of clothing is something I truly look forward to in March. Winter means a down filled jacket over a down filled vest. March means I can finally rid myself of that vest and maybe even the wool socks. The heavy ski gloves I wear for outdoor chores are replaced with lighter weight really dirty, tan leather work gloves. In March, I allow myself to THINK about wearing sandals and shorts instead of is this a low boot, medium boot or a high boot day? Hubby wonders if maybe he can wear a pair of regular jeans and not the flannel lined ones.
Our barn cats start to venture forth once again in March. During the coldest months they huddle together in their heated kennel or sit on the heated mat outside the kennel in the barn. Bored, they look forward to my daily visits to break up the monotony of winter for them. And besides, I bring them a nice warm breakfast every day. Now I look out the window and watch Sylvia, Rowdy, Shadow and Mayhem pussyfooting across the pastures in search of a fresh mousie treat. They are very happy for the ending of winter!
Dan will trudge through the drifted snow to the Orchard before reporting back that yes indeed, there are buds forming on the Apple and Pears trees. I watch him walk from Cherry tree to Plum tree to Apricot tree and I can almost see the wheels turning as he plans out another season for his fruit trees.
No matter the season, the weather, the temperature or my mood, I walk the dogs every single day. Hotter than Hades days, or rain, sleet, snow and ice, we head off down the road. But winters’ cold and ice are the most challenging of times for us all. I don’t want either myself or the dogs to fall and break and hip. Two weeks ago, our oh so very much loved German Shepherd, Gracie went to that old Rainbow Bridge and our hearts are broken. But my old boy, 13 y/o Otto, who misses his best friend so much, still loves his walks. And as he ages, he appreciates the melting of the snow and ice and the promise of walking the soft dirt of our road as we adjust to our new normal without Gracie.
I think that this year, I am with my spouse in declaring that March 1st is the official end of winter. By the time you read this, we will have journeyed through the entire month of March into April. And just like that…..it really, truly and blessedly is spring!
Thanks for stopping by today my friends. As we journey through the seasons of our lives, I wish you warm breezes, the scent of Lilac in the air and hope in your heart. Journey on!
Hugs and much love from me,