The first day of spring is just around the corner but the weather in our mountains continues to be fickle. We’ve had a few days in the 70s but lest you’re thinking of planting the garden know that the last frost date is in mid-April. And it’s not uncommon to see snow show up for a final curtain call!
Even so, the signs of spring are all around us. We have crocuses, forsythia peeking out, warmer days (followed by COLD ones), and the first peepers of the season. So I’m indulging my spring fever with some of the things I love about this time of year in Appalachia.
1) Snow on daffodils. In spite of warmer days, we’ll occasionally wake to a fluffy dusting of snow that clings to branches and flower petals without making a mess of the roads. Just the way I like my snow! Growing up, snows like that were called “poor man’s fertilize” and farmers would hurry to plow it under in the garden before it melted.
2) Peepers. I love to wake to the song of the little frogs singing and then walk with them at dusk. It’s the music of spring!
3) Fresh asparagus. I think it’s kind of a shame that you can get just about any produce any time of year these days. I remember how Mom treasured those first asparagus shoots poking up through the warming soil. Thank goodness for farmer’s markets where you can still find the real thing!
4) The first wildflowers. The earliest is typically bloodroot with trout lily competing for first place. Soon enough there will be trillium, dwarf iris, showy orchis, and others. I ADORE wildflower hunting in the woods!
5) Lambs. When I was a kid, spring was all about the new calves. Dad and would walk out to check on the mothers about to give birth. Now I get to drive past a local farm college’s lambing pasture every morning and evening. And yes, I will pull over to watch lambs frolic. I mean, how can you not?!?
6) Seed catalogs. I don’t grow many vegetables anymore (even when I try, I don’t grow many!), but I still love flipping through the pages of those colorful catalogs. Giant tomatoes, golden corn, plump strawberries, crookneck squash, new potatoes, baby lettuces . . . Oh, shoot. Maybe I will plant something this year!
7) Open windows. It’s a bit early yet, but any time the temperature creeps upwards of 65 I sneak a window open at least for a little while. The day I can leave them open all night listening to the peepers will be perfection!
What do you love about spring?