News From the Homestead: Is It Spring Yet?

Right about the first of February, avid gardeners get a little weary of winter and start looking for signs of spring. There may be snow on the ground and temperatures flirting with freezing but in our hearts we know there must be signs that the dark season is losing its grip. The signs vary from region to region. Some of us look for the ice breaking up on the nearby rivers. Others watch for buds swelling on native trees. And of course there’s Ground Hog Day (February 2) when we get a little crazy from cabin fever and pin our hopes on a fat burrowing creature to forecast the length of winter.

There are three signs that I have found to be reliable harbingers of spring, no matter which part of the country I’ve lived in. The first one is the return of the song birds. These sweet creatures are stimulated by the change in day length to move north and start their nesting activities. Here in the south, this starts as early as late January. The house finches are the first to show up at the McCormick Homestead. Ours is a highly desirable nesting spot. There’s bird food my mother puts out each morning (after she feeds her cat and fish), a reliable water dish that gets filled even in the heat of summer, and lots of nooks for small birds to nest in relative safety. Sometimes they try really strange spots to nest, such as on top of the main household circuit breaker box or in the curve of a Christmas wreath I forgot to put away.

The second sign of spring returning is a little more subtle. Around this time I start watching the overnight lows to see how quickly they are trending upward. The daytime highs are more fickle because they can quickly crash when a cold front sweeps. But the overnight lows are more affected by the ground temperature. When temperatures rise underfoot, trees and shrubs start pulling up sap and buds swell. Warmer soil temperatures also trigger seeds that were dormant all winter.

And the third sign? Well, it’s one you’ll only see along country roads. I’m of course referring to roadkill. Sad though it is, a major uptick of country roadkill is a sure sign spring is just around the corner. Dormant animals awaken  with a touch of amnesia, forgetting the road lessons of past years.

 

What about you? Comment on the signs of spring in your area.

Subscribe to My Newsletter

Powered by Robly

Recent Blog Posts

  • Seeds Ready to Be Sown

    Questions About Seed Starting

    February 02, 2017

    February is the season of love…and of the very beginnings of your summer garden. This is the month when you can buy fresh packets of seed and start…

  • Oranges and Spices

    Wow Guests With Cranberry-Lemon Punch

    December 12, 2016

    With the holidays here, you are probably connecting with family or friends to share the joys of the season. Whether it’s just a few buddies over for d…

  • Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

    Make Some Rosemary Shortbread

    December 12, 2016

    Rosemary is often used in savory meat dishes but it can also shine in sweet treats. To see what I mean try this recipe for rosemary shortbread, adapte…

  • christmas-ball

    Caring For Your Christmas Rosemary

    December 12, 2016

    If you’ve been out shopping for Christmas decorations you may have seen what looked like a pint-sized Christmas tree. That was probably a rosemary b…

  • Time to harvest your basil before frost hits.

    Last Call For Basil

    November 11, 2016

    We are now at the tail end of fall. Many parts of North America have already seen freezing temperatures that shut down garden activity. But if your ne…

Topics:

The Herb ‘n Cowgirl is a member of