Sunday, March 06, 2011

M is for March, Maple, Mud Season and Musing ...

copyright lee hansen 2010 all rights reserved
So many things happening, so much to do. March always catches me a bit unprepared for the chores and changes it brings. There are taxes to finish and file, gardens to clean up and mulch,  holidays to celebrate and new art to be made before the official first day of Spring.

In Pennsylvania, the weather at the beginning of the month might still be wintry, but by St. Patrick's Day the grass is green and the snow piles are long gone. The garden is ready for the first peas to be planted, crocus flowers are blooming and daffodils are almost bursting with their welcome bright cheer.  Overwintering birds are looking for love, claiming spots to build nests and singing from the tops of the trees. The first of the returning south-migrating flocks are passing through the yard on their way to back Canada and New England.

Life's not so different at the house in Vermont, except that early March is the season of major snow and ice melt,  just before Vermont's fifth season - mud season. In Vermont if you don't drive a 4WD truck or a car with high clearance (and a come-along in the trunk) your best bet is to avoid back roads until everything dries out.  Of course if you do live on a dirt road that's prone to becoming a quagmire in early spring you probably own the right type of vehicle and you know how to drive in and out without a problem, no matter how much mud and snow might be hiding around the bend.

Today as I write it's been raining steadily in Rutland county for 12 hours. The icy driveway that trapped me at home for two days last week along with sub-zero temperatures is clear again down to the gravel. The huge snow banks along the driveway are starting to retreat and the thermometer says it's 50 degrees - nearly the same weather as at home in Pennsylvania today. As the next few weeks go by, the differences in the weather will diminish until it's tomato planting time at both houses.

For now, I can see bare ground at the base of the trees in the front yard. There's snow forecast for the north country tonight, with a mix expected here, then above freezing weather all week during the day.  Maple season is starting. No more need for my roof rake this year ... welcome Spring.

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