Spring is just around the corner

Forget the jaded predictions of prima donas groundhogs, Cache Creek's Rusty the Groundhug says it's a good day to be outside.

It’s been an unusual winter this year. Let’s not forget the -20 temperatures in November and the usual gale-like winds between Christmas and New Years. Or the eight-inch dump of snow in early January…

Guess it hasn’t been all that unusual after all. It’s just that the mild temperatures and the fog leave a lasting impression that can’t be dispelled by facts.

My Grandma Craig, used to write down the daily temperatures and conditions on her calendar. My teenage brain just added it to one more crazy thing that old ladies do. Now my somewhat-past-middle-age brain understands that if you don’t write it down, the imagination creates all sorts of realistic memories of the way things weren’t.

Now that I’m a crazy old lady myself, I keep track of the weather – frost dates, planting dates and other notable weather events. How else would I remember that starting on April 15, I can leave my seedlings in the greenhouse overnight? Or that last year I pulled the tomato plants out of the front yard on Oct. 31 so the Trick or Treaters wouldn’t trip over them, but the frost didn’t arrive until Nov. 22.

Last December’s bird count indicated that many of the birds we expected to see had already been and gone, leaving us wondering if the early arrivals and departures would translate ino an early Spring.

On Monday, Groundhog Day, I dragged Rusty the Groundhug out of his warm, comfy kitty bed and shoved him towards the front door. With much blinking and hesitation, he finally poked his nose out of his den (also known as our house) and a moment later, put a tentative paw down on the welcome mat. Then, much to my surprise, Rusty not only left his den, but rolled back and forth several times on the cold, wet cement porch.

That was good enough for me! Forget the fact that who could see 10 feet in front of themselves in the fog we had on Monday, Rusty the Groundhug not only didn’t see his shadow, but he danced the happy horizontal cha cha of imminent spring! Go Rusty!

Yes folks, the pre-Spring is here. In a few short weeks, we’ll be swatting at flying insects and dodging lake-sized puddles while we sweat inside our coats as the temperature fluctuates between freezing and baking in the space of a few hours. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.

Time to ditch the snow tires and start making garden plans,

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal