The snow was gently falling when I first heard the high-pitched chirp outside my bedroom window. “Fairly optimistic bird,” I thought to myself. It’s 29 degrees, we are expecting several inches of a gentle and beautifully quiet snowfall and this bird is singing like spring just arrived. Silly bird must have heard the reports from York, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 2 and Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring.
Call me a nonbeliever. Between 2010 and 2019, Phil’s predictions were only correct 40% of the time, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. That’s on par with the Farmers’ Almanac, which for snow predictions is right only 40% of the time, but for winter outlook temperatures it’s correct about 50% of the time.
I think I’ll stick with my aging body and its aches to predict what the upcoming weather will be — or step outside — and prepare accordingly. If it’s cloudy, I’ll pack an umbrella. Frost means a jacket or coat. And steam rising from the cement indicates we are in store for a hot one.
Spring is certainly is the air, though. You can smell the gradual change of the season as early bloomers pierce the soil, as optimistic as the singing bird and hoping to escape a sudden Kansas deep freeze before blooming in April.
If you are coming down with a case of spring fever and eager to feel the garden dirt between your fingers, this issue will give you a good dose of gardening medicine to help you wait out the weather until it’s time to plant your vegetables, flowers, herbs and landscaping plants. From demonstration gardens to Victorian pincushion beds, spring planting fever begins on Page 12.