This winter has to be the strangest on record in southern Wisconsin.  Oh sure, El Nino in 1997-1998 was plenty bizarre with some of us raking in February in short sleeves.  Yesterday it rained and was foggy.  Today the day started with strong winds and ice covered roads.  The sun was shining and then suddenly it was overcast and snowing.  The temperatures hover around the 30-degree mark and are predicted to go back up to the 40's later this week. 

40 degrees.  In January.  In WISCONSIN. It's unheard of.

Growing up in Dane County, I remember snow drifts left behind by the snow plows that my brother and I would burrow into and make snow forts.  Granted, we were shorter then, but I remember SNOW, like MOUNDS of it.  Blocking driveways, causing snow days off of school.  Not this dusting stuff that barely covers our unmowed grass.

I also remember traveling to Presque Isle, WI around 1988 for the holidays when the temps were lucky to reach -30 degrees.  We just prayed my boyfriend's car didn't break down and that some poor fool was working the counter at a gas station so we could go inside and warm our hands and feet.

Or the New Year's Eve party where the keg of beer actually froze solid out on the patio.

Honestly, I don't miss the bitter cold.  Some people thrive in it - skiing, snowmobiling - but somewhere along the lines, I missed out on my Scandanavian DNA heartiness and curse the outdoors from November to April.   Freezing my arse off at the local ski hill sounds about as much fun as a colonoscopy without sedation.

As the household pessimist, it is my duty to inform you that this warm spell we're enjoying now will be paid back in spades come Spring.  Remember last year when we got two late frosts in late May/early June?  I sure do.  I was caught unprepared and most of my seedlings succumbed to frost bite.  This year, I am betting that winter will linger farther into the summer and there will be no spring at all.  Take that Farmer's Almanac - let's see what you've got for predictions.  I've got a pile of ice cream buckets ready to protect my baby plants and I'M NOT AFRAID TO USE THEM.

I hope I'm wrong.  I am praying that I'll get to try out my new greenhouse.  That I'll find a grow light on Craigslist and get those little melons and tomatoes and peppers off to a hearty start.  That the chipmunks will come out of hibernation and keep my cats out of my hair.  That my chickens won't be terrified to come out of their coop anymore.   And that I might actually get a sunburn before August.

Maybe Mother Nature is giving us a break just this once   ...   but I won't hold my breath.

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    I'm Rachelle and this is my blog about the experiences of country living with my husband, two boys, two dogs, four cats and seven chickens in southern Wisconsin.


    June 2012
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    December 2011