Has spring come to north Texas early this year?
Recent weather would certainly support that contention.
Since I last blogged about the weather, several weeks ago following a drizzly mid-February weekend, conditions have turned balmy. We’ve topped 80 degrees at least once and have been in the 70s on a half-dozen occasions.
Today is March 2 and the thermometer is headed back to 70, dipping into the low 60s tomorrow, but regaining those 10 degrees for the coming week. And predicted lows are not expected to push into the 30s. Seems like spring. Wonder if the fish are biting.
My Bradford pear trees are covered in those pretty white blossoms that smell like tuna fish. Redbud trees have bloomed out and the daffodils have peaked and faded. My wildflower collection, mostly thistle and dandelion, are pushing through the still-moist soil and providing a bit of spring color, yellow and green — at least until I can apply herbicide and dash their aspirations. A carpet of clover threatens to overtake one flower bed and the daylilies have begun to crowd out everything else in several others.
My wife reported a robin sighting one morning this week. I’ve heard a mocking bird on several occasions rehearsing, trying to figure out which song to sing to usher in springtime.
And this morning as I pulled out of my driveway to run a quick errand I spotted a mourning dove sitting on a neighbor’s mailbox, a brittle stem clutched tightly in its beak. No doubt what’s on her — or his — mind.
The squirrels that bedevil the outside cat have also been acting, well, squirrelly, scampering hither and yon, racing up trees, out on the limberest of limbs and performing amazing feats of high-wire derring-do. They sense a bit of spring in the air, too.
Farmers are either beginning to plant grain — cotton in south Texas — or at least itching to get started. Those who have benefitted from winter rainfall are hopeful; those who have not are also hopeful, assuming some rain will come soon. That’s the way it is with farmers.
And I’m considering looking for a good fishing hole either tomorrow or the next day. Weather is too nice to pass up the opportunity to sit on a creek bank and tempt a fish to nibble on a piece of fur and feather.
But I’ve seen this before. I can’t count the times February has ended and March has arrived on a blast of spring-like air only to be displaced, sometimes even late in the month, by a cold snap that made December and January seem absolutely summerish. I recall a foot of snow the last week of March on several occasions. And I remember north winds in March that seemed to slice through my heaviest coats.
I’ve often seen wheat fields that held promise of bin-buster yields laid low by late March freezes. Some wheat observers are a bit nervous about freeze potential this year. In some areas, wheat has done well with early fall moisture and ample rain through winter. Plants are lush, growing well — and could be vulnerable to one of those late cold spells.
Much as I’d like to, I’m not declaring winter over quite yet. It’s pleasant today. It’s likely to be so again tomorrow and the day after that and perhaps for several more days. But I’m too cynical to believe that we’re not in for at least one more nasty bit of weather. We’ve had no snow so far, no icy roads, no bitter cold temperatures extending for a week or more.
Early spring is just too much to hope for. But I do.