Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Time Is Hard Up Here!

I know, I know.  If I don't like it, why do I live here?  I live here because the advantages (for us anyway) of living in No Man's Land (Or as some people like to say, "It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.") far, far outweigh living elsewhere.  Now that I've said that, let me complain a bit.

We have virtually no spring in northern Minnesota.  And yet every year we expect it, look for it, yearn for it, hope for it.  Spring is the forgotten season here.  Every year we go from dirty, muddy, cold, wet, frozen winter into summer.  While we're looking the other way (probably scraping tracked in mud off the just washed floor), one day the temp hits 70 degrees and, lo and behold, summer has arrived.  Forget about spring.  It doesn't happen.  Spring flowers bloom in June.  Ice and snow can be found hiding in any shaded corner about the same time.

See, the thing is that the frost penetrates down so far into the ground over winter that any melting we do get during this time (which actually should be, but isn't, spring) can't soak into the ground . . . because of the still frigid, frozen soil.  So what does the moisture do?  It makes mud.  Which holds puddles caused by melting snow or precipitation occasionally falling from the sky.  These same puddles freeze each night to form booby traps for anyone (man or beast) traversing the ground.  Frequently, that terrible phenomenon called black ice appears on the roads each morning.  Black ice is a very inhospitable surface on which to drive.  Just ask the two drivers that we heard of whose vehicles traveled an excessive distance into the woods after encountering black ice and subsequently leaving the pavement this morning.

This is the time of year when I look out at my wet and muddy, yet still frozen, garden and lament I'll never be able to work the soil until at least July.  It's hard to remember that's not the reality.  As happens every year, one day the temp will hit 70 degrees and summer will be here.

Perhaps I shouldn't say spring time is hard up here.  It would be more accurate to say it just doesn't exist.

18 comments:

DFW said...

It doesn't exist in the south either. But, we go from 37 this morning to almost 80 today & expecting to rise to near 90 by Saturday. There isn't anything we can do about it though. If you & Papa Pea want to move south, I have just the place for ya.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Spring appears every couple of years here. Last year, I think it was just 2 weeks, then directly into summer.

You could always come down toward tornado alley if you feel the need to plant in a garden, I have plenty of seeds to plant :-)

I have dear friends who reside up in Nova Scotia, Canada they still have all kinds of snow. I promised them I would do an Indian dance to get rid of their snow. Your name was also added to the no snow dance, lol

Anonymous said...

Mama and Papa Pea, Just a little longer and you'll be ready to plant your cool weather crops. Hang in there. I almost feel guilty telling you of our weather and how mild a winter we had. We are a month ahead in the orchard and garden. We just ate our first asparagus yesterday and have been eating chives and wintered over sunchokes too. I started my bedding plants on 3/8 and just transplanted all the brassica into larger cups. They are growing so fast. By next weekend, I will need to transplant tomatoes. We have volunteer potatoes up and the strawberries and all fruit trees (especially sweet cherry) are in full bloom. Only one thing could ruin this wonder. A.... dare I say it.... killing freeze!! Temps have been in the mid to high 20's at night and we hit 80* yesterday. Freezing temps forecasted for later on this week. Keep those fingers crossed for us. Your hiking trail looks glorious and peaceful. Hope you are both well. Misty

Myrna said...

I remember it well, one of the reasons we moved to Iowa, lol. Can I say my rhubarb is up and leafing out.

Kristina said...

I probably shouldn't tell you that today's spring weather is so nice, the windows are open? I might even paint a few porch chairs later, and clean windows. But yeah, it's very nice today. Although we could get a cold snap too.

Mama Pea said...

DFW - Wow, those temperature differences in a single day's time would wreak havoc on some plants, I would think! Okay, where do we go in our country to find a lovely, warm, prolonged spring time with loads of blossoming spring flowers? I guess no place is perfect in all respects, eh? :o}

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Thanks much but I'll stay as far away from tornadoes as I possible can! Very scary things. We're having a lovely (?) wintry mix today, snow/rain/sleet with lots of grayness. You can imagine how cold that feels, too.

I wouldn't mind planting your garden with you though. I'll bet I could even do it withOUT my long underwear on!

Mama Pea said...

Misty - Hooray for your area with it's early spring. Now if you just don't get zapped by a late frost . . . that's always the fear, isn't it? Sounds as if your "busy" season is well under way. Take care, you two!

Mama Pea said...

Myrna - You can say your rhubarb is up and leafing out . . . and I won't even hold it against you. Even though I've never set foot in Iowa, I've always gotten a special feeling when I think of it and the small farms still remaining there. If I believed in reincarnation (do I?), I'd bet I was a farm wife on a beautiful piece of black soil in Iowa in a previous life. I really do have that much of a special feeling about Iowa. Strange, huh?

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Boy, we sure don't have your lovely weather here today. A wintry mix, lots of gray dampness and a real bite to the air. Not a day to think very much about gardening . . . unless it's just to plot it out on paper. And patiently wait. :o}

Susan said...

Mama Pea, this is the first year that I am not chomping at the bit to get my seeds started. I think this winter took a bit of the starch out of my drawers. However, we know how fickle spring can be/is, right? So I am going to start my seeds this weekend - I expect it to be 60 by next week....

Bateman Homestead said...

I'm sorry Mama Pea :/ I forget what it's like to live in a tundra...my mom wasn't impressed with me bragging about working outside either, since she just got snow. I don't know how you handle the cabin fever.

http://batemanhomestead.weebly.com/

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Can you guarantee that you will send 60 degree weather to northern MN for next week, too? If so, you will be ever so popular with many, many folks in these here parts! We have a wintry mix (oh, joy) going on here today. Dang gray and cold out there. :o( Spring time in the north country. Bah.

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - I'm fortunate that I never suffer from cabin fever . . . not with so much quilting, reading, knitting, etc. I want to do . . . but right about now I sure am tired of looking out at my wet, snow coated, bedraggled garden area. There's no color out there, absolutely NO COLOR! Ish.

Lisa said...

I wonder, if 70 is your 'summer' temps..... could your summer really be your 'spring' and it is actually summer that is by-passed?! 70s are what we think of as 'Spring' temps..... 80-90s Summer.... just a thought. And I have been extremely remiss in telling you how much I LOVE your new header photo!!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Oh, geez! Now you've given me a whole new theory to think about! ;o)

Thanks for the kind words regarding the header photo. Already enough snow is gone that it's not true to reality. Next? A drab picture of a rutted tired track in the mud!

Mark said...

I would definitely be getting antsy. Actually I AM getting antsy, but at this point I'm waiting for hard frosts to fade out and not the ground to thaw.

Most years we get a real spring, but sometimes it's a short one. Of course the other thing spring brings here is the occasional tornado or hailstorm. We can all do without those.

Mama Pea said...

Mark - Yes, our ground (with the frost that goes so deep) takes a loooong while to thaw out. In the meantime, lots of water and mud puddled up on top. :o(

I was very, very happy to leave the tornadoes behind when we moved up here from Illinois years ago. Let's hope it is a quiet season for them this year!