Friday, February 22, 2008

Clash of the Titans: Winter vs. Spring

The last few weeks have included wild swings between signs of impending spring and strong reminders that winter isn't willing to loosen its grip yet.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, I heard the first meadowlarks setting up territories in our back five. We have a pair of easterns that seem to be staking out our land in particular, at least 2 other pairs of easterns within hearing distance...and I actually heard one lone western singing away in a field just a little south of us.

One morning last week, I noticed that the cardinals had joined the springtime territorial chorus, then just a few days later I heard red-winged blackbirds vocalizing their raucous, "Ogalee!!!" These bird calls just make my heart sing along when I hear them.

The crocuses are poking up through the mulch, too. Just an inch or so is showing, but the fresh, bright green is wonderfully promising.

So much for spring.

The strongest, yet oddest, winter phenomenon we've had recently was waking up on the night before last to thundersleet. This is the fourth winter thunderstorm we've had in two months, and I find that very odd. Having just one was strange; I really don't know how to react to four of them. I briefly researched this type of storm on the web, and all of the sites I looked at noted that winter thunderstorms were quite "unusual." What's doubly unusual to me is that the temperatures have usually been quite cold when the storms roll in (Wednesday night's storm occurred while it was 19 degrees Fahrenheit), and at least 2 of the storms have occurred in the wee hours of the night when the atmospheric energy should, theoretically, be less than it is during the day.

There's a little part of me wondering what the spring storms will be like if the winter storms are already bringing us such unusual weather.

Overall, I have to admit that I'm glad we haven't had any prolonged warm spells. As enjoyable as those are, I hate having the plants leaf out early, only to be set way back by a late freeze. Surprisingly, I'm not suffering badly from spring fever yet. Too much to do inside the house, still, I guess.

The Wichita Lawn and Garden Show is in 2 weeks; that's probably when spring fever will descend on me with a vengeance. I wonder what strange and wonderful things I'll find there this year!

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