Monday, March 6, 2017

Phenology on a roller coaster?

Pardon me for being slightly freaked out, but I'm not used to being under a tornado watch in Minnesota, in early March. April, maybe. May and June, definitely. Not March! Then, again, local temperatures in the mid-to-upper fifties in early March are also rare. The thunderstorms that were in this morning's forecast have moved from mid-afternoon to early evening and the overnight snow seems to have disappeared from the evening forecast. Clearly we are in a "if you don't like the weather, wait a minute" mode. The rest of the week looks as if it were ordered by sugar bush owners looking for a decent run of sap. Lows below freezing and highs mostly at or above the magic number. I continue to doubt we'll have anything like a smooth, progressive, transition into warmer weather, but then we almost never do around here.

bear and spruce coffee mug
bear and spruce coffee mug
Photo by J. Harrington

While we were in Duluth Saturday, the Better Half [BH] bought me a new coffee mug that I really, really like. I found it at Duluth Pack and, since it was the last of its kind on the rack, decided to not do my usual "I can get it later." The BH then sneakily paid for it while I was elsewhere occupied, reinforcing my long time rule of thumb "No amount of planning will ever replace dumb luck."

sun dog
sun dog
Photo by J. Harrington

Heading South after we had eaten, we got to enjoy watching a sun dog shine through the cloud cover. It did have its twin hiding behind a series of conifer topped ridges off to the far right, so only one of the pair shows up in the photo. The BH gave me a skeptical look when I explained I had arranged for the sun dog viewing in exchange for the coffee mug.

Yesterday, a close inspection of the back yard forsythia and lilac shrubs showed absolutely no sign of life in the buds, unlike a well established lilac hedge just up the road. Each is a young, not terribly well-established, plant, growing near the bottom of a shallow bowl where cooler air tends to collect. We'll start to to a more frequent check for bud burst and also inspect the oak buds hanging over the deck more regularly. It's that time of year.

March


By Richard Kenney


Sky a shook poncho.
Roof   wrung. Mind a luna moth
Caught in a banjo.

This weather’s witty
Peek-a-boo. A study in
Insincerity.

Blues! Blooms! The yodel
Of   the chimney in night wind.
That flat daffodil.

With absurd hauteur
New tulips dab their shadows
In water-mutter.

Boys are such oxen.
Girls! — sepal-shudder, shadow-
Waver. Equinox.

Plums on the Quad did
Blossom all at once, taking
Down the power grid.

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