By the calendar, winter is more than half over by now. By the meteorologists' calendar, which uses Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 as winter, it's soon drawing to a close. The winds may howl and the snow may fly, although it hasn't done a lot of that in the southern half of the state yet. But spring is on the way, sometimes it's almost as it if it is in the air.
What are your signs of spring? How do you know when winter is waning and another season will soon burst out from the brown doldrums of winter?
Here are a few signs I look for.
Just a feeling! Along about this time of year sometimes you just got that feel that it's time for cold weather to be done, for warm weather to come. It helps if you get a couple of warm days, but it's like winter is about to lose its grip.
Cold days seem like bitter memories. Even this year there was a cold stretch of below zero weather. It could still happen, but we would be into record-setting territory if it did.
Daffodils blooming: What a welcome sight. In 2014 they bloomed through the snow, but when Mother Nature is sending out the flowers, winter will lose its grip sooner or later
The lamb hop: My barn is filling up with lambs, and they don't walk, they hop. They're so excited to be alive – so new, so young, just like the season about to "spring" forth. They're fun to watch as they check out their new legs and figure out exactly what they can do with their new found freedom. Wait until they get on green grass, then spring is here for sure!
The dog cage in the garage is empty! No more nights or days of bringing him in out of the cold. Last winter it was a daily ritual for three months. This year it only lasted a couple weeks. If he's outside, spring is coming.
Birds bombarding the window: When they see their reflection, or think it's mating time, or whatever they do, and crash into the glass, you know they're more active. Robins and cardinals will soon be more numerous.
First blade of green grass: I haven't seen one yet, but when I do, it's a sure bet spring won't be far behind. That's a good thing – the pile of hay in the barn is dwindling. That's another sign of spring, an empty hay loft.
Greenhouse full of young plants: I assist some with a greenhouse, and it's beginning to fill with cold crops – flats of broccoli, cabbage and the like. They're tiny, but they're up and ready to grow. A spring garden awaits.
The garden tractor starts! If it's warm enough for the battery to start the garden tractor, it will soon be warm enough to grow enough grass to need to use it.
Tulips galore! My birthday is April 9. I usually see tulips in our tulip bed by then. Spring is sprung – April 9th is only 58 days away, not that I'm counting. It's 46 days since Christmas. It's in the rear view mirror.