After enduring New England’s harsh winters, I believe springtime is one of the most beautiful and must longed for seasons that comes our way but spring is late this year. Usually in April, the green floor of our orchard is interspersed with pastel colors of wild strawberry and viola blossoms and large swatches of brilliant yellow dandelions. Around the base of our colonial home, daffodils nod their yellow heads in the warm spring breeze. Neighboring homes have colorful trees in bloom while we await the fragrant blossoms of pear and apple trees which will start to bloom in late April or the early part of May.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet
Unfortunately this year, spring isn’t giving us the usual beautiful blossoms that gladden our hearts. After one of the coldest and snowiest winters ever, springlike weather has been slow to arrive in New Hampshire. With chilly daytime temperatures and nights below freezing, there is snow still on the ground in our area. I am growing ever so impatient for warmer days that will finish melting the snow and bring green back to our world. In the meantime, we are experiencing the ugly side of spring.
If you live in a temperate climate, you might not know about spring’s ugly side. It is the squishy, messy time of the year when rising temperatures melt the snow and mud abounds. New Englanders and others that live in snow country call it “mud season”. Let me explain how we manage during this annual early spring event.
On the fashion front, dressing is a mixed bag. I no longer have to wear my winter down coat that is so puffy it made me look like the “Michelin man” and that is a huge improvement. Instead, I now wear a light down jacket that can be folded into a package about the size of a well stuffed sandwich when not in use. Wool slacks have been traded for jeans…the better to hide dirty water stains that splash up on pants legs as you go about your daily outside activities.
To ensure that my feet stay nice and dry, I wear Clarks “Muckers”. Certainly not stylish, the lower half of the leather shoes are encased in rubber. They are very practical though when it comes to removing accumulated mud. If going out to dinner or to a friend’s home, I carry a second pair of shoes in a plastic bag. I can look nice after changing into pretty shoes and the muddy ones are stored in their “mud room” until I’m ready to leave.
When driving during this season, you must make sure your car has a full supply of windshield washing fluid. This is to insure that you can see where you are driving after a passing motorist sprays your car with the accumulated water from snow runoff on the roads. The water is quite dirty from the salt and sand mixture that was spread on the roads during all the winter snowstorms. At the end of a day of driving, my car goes from a shiny silver to “salt grime white”. When loading or unloading packages from the back of my car, I have to remember to stay a good distance away or my clothes will become filthy.
The apple trees would normally be pruned by now but that job has been postponed because of the snow still on the ground. As for the trees themselves, they will more than likely bloom late. Our magnificent stand of rhododendrons were hard hit by the record-breaking cold winter weather and I’ll be amazed if they make a comeback. I’ll prune off all the dead wood as soon as possible but that also means loosing this year’s buds.
Since we are putting our home and orchard up for sale, I’m not planting tomatoes this year. Instead, I’ll plant flower seeds in place of vegetables in our garden when the snow melts, the ground thaws and the soil dries up. With snow from plowing our drive piled so high by the garden gate, I’ll have to wait until the snow is gone to see how the herbs in the raised garden bed did. They had lots of snow insulating them against the below freezing weather so they should come back.
As the old saying goes, hope springs eternal, so I know that this messy mud season will soon be replaced by natures beauty just waiting to sprout and unfurl. In the meantime, I’m in the midst of “spring cleaning” and packing up part of our household goods for the move to Florida. I hope all my readers will understand why I have not visited lately and my posts have been further apart. Let’s all make the most of each passing day, no matter the weather or season.