By Christina VanGinkel
Spring arrived yesterday in the Midwest with snow flurries, but a promise of warmer weather to come. Walking around my yard, the ground was soft in many spots, with the snow melting faster than it was settling to the ground. My driveway is gravel and through the years, the gravel has worn away, leaving spots in need of repair. These areas were mud yesterday. Walking along what was our walkway last year, before we tore it up and moved it over, I saw the green of several plants trying to push through the ground, bulbs that we missed when we also moved the rows of them at the same time we tore up the walkway. All of this pointing to repairs that I should make a list of so that as soon as it is a bit warmer, we can get out and fix. Gravel will need to be ordered, as our driveway cannot handle another year of just raking over these bare areas, they are really in need of some fill. The walkway survivors will need to be dig up, and I will have to give my husband some chiding on how he missed them, as he swears he knows where every plant and bulb is!
My young grandson was visiting, and he wanted to help me fill all of the birdfeeders while we were outside. By the time we were done, I realized just how much the ground was warming up, as where there was at least a foot of snow just a few days ago, there is now a field of old seed that will need to be raked up. After our ordeal this winter with the spread of a disease that killed many of our small songbirds, we have been keeping up a vigilant spree of cleaning in and around the feeders. Seeing all the debris now that the snow has melted only reminds me just how much more vigilant we will need to be now that the temperatures are warming again, as it was the extended warm weather this past fall that kicked in the issue in the first place. We are still battling wild turkeys too, and their markings are all over the yard. They are not a clean bird, and we are going to have to kick up our attention on how to deter them from our yard. They have been knocking over feeders and chasing squirrels for weeks now, and while I do not recall thinking them cute for a second, if they were ever welcome, they have long wore it out! We have noticed that they have taken to roosting just outside of the yard, and have lost any fear that they might have held from the barking of our dogs.
Today is supposed to be warmer, with the temperature reaching just above the freezing point, and this Saturday the temperature is expected to reach forty. For many of you who live in the southern part of the country, this might seem cold, but in my neck of the woods, this means snowmelt, and road limits. Actually, road limits have been on the road we live on for a couple of days, but if the weather continue a steady warming, as it looks it will, then these will hopefully be off as fast as they arrived.
Spring is a great time of year, but it is also, what I believe to be the most drastic time of year. Summer will just seemingly arrive one day, when someone realizes that hey, it is warm enough to swim, and fall likes to sneak in, with the leaves changing color over several weeks, and then falling to the ground to be raked into big piles to be jumped in and maybe a few for compost. Winter is just as slow to come, with snow flurries here and there, and cold nights and moderate days. Spring might take just as long as all of the other transitions, but with snow one day, and thunder showers the next, followed by lightning storms, and mud, it at the least seems like it is a much quicker transition.
If you have been waiting for spring's arrival to get out and work in your garden, chances are if it has not come to your neighborhood yet, it is almost there, so dig out your rakes and cultivators, make your shopping list of plants to add, as she is about to sweep across neighborhoods coast to coast!