23 March, 2010

spring is here, somewhere

So, it is spring time. At least that's what the calendar suggests. Albertans know better than to count on it, though. Gardeners and farmers, in particular, know better than to assume that the equinox means spring has sprung and the grass will surely soon be growing. I suppose, if you give "soon" a more objective understanding, you could say that, indeed, "soon" the grass would be green and growing again. ... if by soon, you mean sooner than back in January. ha! We still have a month and a half more-or-less. Luckily farmers have developed planting regimes to embrace the winter here, and winter wheat, a fall/winter-planted grain has the benefit of growing immediately after the soil thaws instead of waiting for the soil to be first plough-able. Most gardeners don't get to be so lucky. We wait until the thaw is upon us, the soil is workable once again, and only THEN do we start to turn the earth and throw down seeds for the summer of plenty. It really is a feast and famine cycle up here. ... as far as nature's bounty is concerned. Though you can cheat a little if you use cold frames and start planting indoors in February or March.

Anyway, not the point of this. It is officially spring. And, as is wont to happen up here at 53 degrees, Latitude, it snowed. There's nothing quite like knowing Nature has a sense of humour. First weekend of spring? Of course you need snow! Fresh, moist, dense snow, not unlike walking on cookie dough, just in time for Monday morning. The flakes started falling fast and thick around 1am, and by morning commute, a good inch and a half had hit the ground in my neighbourhood, more in other areas. Everything was amok in, well, muck, and slush, underlain with surprisingly slick ice. With the sun rising earlier (hooray daylight savings time and equinox!!), it made for an absolutely breathtaking morning commute. ... even if it was snow-saturated!

Today the thaw has started anew, and the fields are re-browning, and the roads are accumulating mud. These, of course, are sure signs that spring truly is on its way. But I won't count on spring until the grass starts to turn green and the aspen have let forth their sap (which I am starting to smell on the wind in small quantities). The birds are returning, I hope this snow wasn't too much of a shock. The Canada geese are slowly re-conglomerating, and the nuthatches have started up their mating calls from my neighbour's tree.

In order of my day, yesterday:

The shrubs at a local park. Snow-covered branches getting lit up by the rising sun.
fresh snow!

Snow-coated trees at the bus terminal.
unidirectional wind

Strong winds coated signs to the point of illegibility in some cases.
pedestrians may get snowed on

My walk home gave me views of neat rows of chaff in the fields.
fields and snow

Snow encrusted wind breaks.
snow in the wind break

Charmingly pastoral scenes.
snow in the chaff
corduroy fields and the public cycling path

A loading-up of grain.
taking a load of grain away

and a barn being divested of its possessions.
Barn and contents

and having things pulled out of the roof?

No comments: