The Winter That Wasn't: Part II

Sunday, March 18, 2012
So back in January, I penned a post entitled "The Winter That Wasn't." The basic gist of the post was: "Okay winter. Shit, or get off the pot." (Of course, I was far more elegant at the time.)

Well, apparently winter listened, because at some moment last week (I think it was Monday), winter decided to get off the pot. And winter didn't dilly-dally. It didn't waste time singing "Happy Birthday" to itself while it washed its hands. Nope, winter 2011-2012 took a drop of Purell and hightailed it on out of here.

I mean pussywillows on March 18th? Come on!

I wanted to love it. (After all, the moral of the story in "The Winter That Wasn't - Part I" was oh, I wish it were spring already.) But honestly? I find this absurd weather kind of creepy. It's not that we're having an early spring. It's like we've bypassed spring all together and are in the midst of summer. And I'm a girl who likes her seasons to come in the proper order, please and thank you!

I know the whole country has been experiencing some crazy high temperatures this spring. But for most of the winter, up here in northern Minnesota we've been able to hold onto some semblance of winter. That all changed last week when we started having consistent highs in the 60s. On Saturday, the temps climbed to 70s. The forecast doesn't hold any promise of it cooling off for quite some time. Already, the ice in the bay is looking downright rotten.

As a compare and contrast, here's what the bay looked like on April 11th, last year.

It's not unusual for the ice-out date for this lake to be in early - mid May. This year, it looks like ice out could come in March or early April which would be a new record. 

I want to soak up the sunshine and be enamored with this unseasonable weather. But instead I see extremely low water levels. Unless we have a veritable monsoon this spring, we are going to be in for some extreme fire danger this spring and summer.

I ran walked over to work yesterday afternoon to pick up some books and found that part of the lake's bay near the museum had disappeared. It's not a great example, but the first picture shows how the bay appeared yesterday and second shows what the bay normally looks like in May. Ugh. Low lake levels are so ugly!

I worry that this early spring will have totally ruined this year's maple syrup production. I worry about how the wildlife and flora will respond to this odd weather. I worry . . . .

I feel like the opposite of the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. Rather than running around murmuring "I'm late, I'm late," I'm surveying the world around me and murmuring "Too early, too early."

Of course, I won't be terribly sad if this early spring means an extended growing season. The cold frame looked so sad and lonely in this warm weather that I just had to plant something in it. (Apparently I couldn't content myself with re-potting houseplants. I am happy this warm weather gave me an opportunity to repot a very root-bound rosemary plant out on the deck.) I sprinkled some "spring mix" lettuce seeds in a pot, watered it and put it in the cold frame. I won't be terribly upset if it suddenly grows cold again and the lettuce doesn't sprout. In fact, it may be a bit of a trick just for me to remember to water it. After all, it's not even spring yet.

Has it been unusually warm where you are? What's your favorite thing to do in the spring?



  1. I totally feel you- even though I've been running around in summer dresses and tank tops photographing flowers when I'd usually be in a winter jacket and boots for another two months- it makes me "uneasy," I guess. I sort of feel pissed that I get a shorter tights- wearing season. Can I not have a few weeks of spring jacket before its too hot without the AC on? come on!

  2. Love the pics :D I love nature
    anyway -- I'm your newest follower from Exposure 99%
    have a great week


  3. Pussy willows on March 18? What is wrong with that? A foreigners question. A foreigner who lives in the more moderate climate in the USA.
    What I am quite sure though is that Spring is not early nor late, the climate is a mess. And I worry about it. A lot.
    I have tried my luck on the Lord of the Rings and my middle age (not middle earth though) if you like to read:

  4. WI has been the same way! I know it'll cool down soon and I'm not looking forward to it already. Bring on the early summer! ;)

  5. It has been incredibly warm- I've been soaking it up because I know we're still probably going to get at least one freak snowstorm, OR it will be an unbearably hot summer, so best to enjoy it now.

  6. Yes it has been a bizarre winter. Is this thing called climate change really here? Are our weather patterns now going to be totally unpredictable? The paper had an article that said that climate change was going to lead to more mental illness... just because it put's everyone on edge (and some over it).

    I don't think doomsday is here yet, so I am going to go for a walk and enjoy the spring bird song (my favorite spring thing)!

  7. My daughters wore Capris to school to day. In CANADA!! IN MARCH? Crazy:)

  8. Here in Maine, our winter was set in extremes. The temperatures were up and down, even reaching 45 in Janaury. We had three snowstorms this season, one on Oct 28, one on November 25, and one on January 2oth. Each time, most of it melting in a few days or in a week. Most of the winter the ground was bare. Lat winter in snowed every week and we had snow on the ground well into April. Now we've gone from warming up nicely to 'oh my gosh', it's 75 degrees on March 18! Predictions for this week are temps in the high seventies and eighties. What is going on? All, I know is that I'm taking advantage of the warm temperatures by planting an early crop of kale, swiss chard, cabbge, broccoli, spinach, etc(in a hoop house and caterpillar). We can't change the weather but we can change how we go about our seasonal activities. Hope to be eating fresh veggies in a month or two. Won't that be something, since planting time in Maine is usually Memorial Day weekend.

  9. I have a feeling you are still going to be able to grow some incredible things in your garden :)

  10. Hiya Ada- I'm sorry it took me so long to come over and thank you for stopping by The Dinner Belle-
    It looks beautiful where you are! We had that same crazy weather here too.
    I was telling the flowers "Stay down; It's a trap"
    IDK what happened to spring- it's been in the 80's here.
    UGH. I miss the change of seasons from the mountains.
    I hope your little plants make it. What's that called? A cold frame?

  11. This weather has been freaking me out big time. We never get stereotypical "Winter" weather anyway but we at least have one or two good frosts. Now I've got the AC on and it's frightening. The bugs are going to be a nightmare this year!

  12. First off--- you have an amazing memory! Yes, I was born in Chicago!

    Now, onto business. I am sooo thankful for the mild seasons this year. With the pending move, I don't think I could handle snow in April and apparently that is possible in Chicago. So right now I am a thankful girl. (Although part of me feels guilty about acknowledging that I like the effects of global warming.... apologies.)


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