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Spring is here … hopefully

Published 11:39am Friday, March 23, 2012

I hope Mother Nature isn’t playing a trick on us.

From all indications, spring is here. Winter gave up the ghost months way too early.

Turkeys are gobbling up a storm. I talked with several people who went turkey hunting this week and apparently everyone is hearing gobblers ring out their mating call in the early morning.

I went running down a logging road with my dog Snoopy Thursday morning and we flushed four of ‘em in less than two miles.

Brown fields are suddenly bright green.

Graceful white dogwood blossoms, decorated with the red cross of Easter, are popping out all over our forests.

The thorny crowns of thistles have already broken ground and are beginning to send up prickly shoots in our pastures.

Fishermen are filling their coolers with crappie.

The dark maroon blossoms of Trillium, one of the first green plants to push through the brown forest floor each year, are open.

This week purple bunches of “grapes” are sagging wisteria vines along the roads all over the county.

Even buckeyes are peppering our woods with red trumpet-shaped blossoms.

The collards and broccoli in my garden – the ones I planted last fall and harvested all winter – have sent up tall green shoots and there’s suddenly a flower garden filled with dainty yellow flowers where my vegetable garden used to be.

The last few times I’ve cut broccoli and cooked it, there were yellow flowers mixed with the bright green heads.

By the way, they look nice on the plate and so far the broccoli still tastes great.

Earlier this week I went out and took a close look at lunchtime and found my garden buzzing with honey bees. Wood bees are swarming at the entrance to the Sportplex football stadium, an annual rite of spring I always associate with the end of soccer season.

I hope Mother Nature isn’t playing a trick on us.

Winter just never took hold this year.

I remember getting bit by a mosquito while I was in a deer stand on New Year’s afternoon, and I’m sure that there’s going to be many a thankful prayer offered this summer for the blessing of screened porches. I’m thinking of burning the pines on my property, not so much to clear the pine straw and briars off the ground but to cut back on ticks, chiggers and all those other flying critters that look at me and drool with hunger.

This is shaping up to be a record summer for bug bites.

I’ve been holding my breath, remembering that April ice storm back in the 90s and waiting for one of those late season arctic blasts that catches everybody off guard.

So far it’s been a dim, dim memory.

Note that today is St. Patrick’s day. Easter is still 23 days away. We’re still in the “dark days” of Lent, except that this year the dark days are sunny and warm and folks are wearing shorts and sandals around town.

Old timers will tell swear you shouldn’t plant until Good Friday. The average date of the last frost for our area is between March 25 and March 30 each year.

But at this point, I think I’ll just ignore all that tradition and start setting out my spring garden this weekend.

I’ll be heading to the store for fertilizer, mulch, composted cow manure … and Deep Woods Off.

I hope Mother Nature isn’t playing a trick on us.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.

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