After the long, cold winter we’ve endured, we northern dwelllers are anxious for spring. A warm-up is forecast and temperatures are expected to be in the 30s by next week, which will be the first week of March.
The forecast has some people musing about whether spring is here. I hate to be pessimistic, but I would say "no." Even by the calendar, spring doesn’t arrive for nearly a month. Anyone who’s lived here awhile knows that the calendar date usually doesn’t coincide witht the onset of spring. We’ve had plenty of cold, snow and wind between March and early May and even if those storms technically are called spring storms, they still feel like winter weather.
For me, though, it really doesn’t matter if the warm-up signals the arrival of spring. I’m just glad that the temperatures are expected to get above freezing. A long, slow melt is exactly what’s needed to avert flooding, and the weather during the next week should be ideal for that.
Meanwhile, I can enjoy the warm temperatures whether it’s spring or not. If spring fails to arrive by the middle of April, I’ll be concerned, but for now I’ll take the weather as it comes.
For several weeks now, the days have been noticeably longer at night. I can easily make it home before dark and still have some time to view our farmstead in daylight. That’s a treat after the long, dark days of December and early January when it’s nearly dark by the time I leave work at 5 p.m.
This morning, for the first time I noticed that the days also are longer in the morning. I went out to feed the horses a little later this morning — 6:15 a.m., instead of 5:30 am., and the sun was just beginning to come up. Instead of being pitch black, the sky was gray and I could discern the shapes of the horses when I was walking out to their corral.
The lighter mornings are exciting to me because I have a much easier time rolling out of bed in the wee hours when it’s light out than I do when it’s dark. The longer days and the fact that Feburary is on the downside are signs that spring is definitely in sight.
During a winter like this, one of my favorite sights and sounds is the roar of the snowplow, followed by a whoosh of snow spraying onto the sides of the road. This morning I had hoped the snowplow would beat me over the roads, but when I got to the end of our grove of trees, I saw that hadn’t happened. I was greeted by some pretty good-sized drifts caused by the snow sifting over the road all day yesterday and throughout last night.
The drifts looked they were fairly soft and they weren’t too wide, so I decided to forge ahead and try to make it to the highway which I was pretty certain would be plowed. I knew from experience that I would have to strike a balance between driving fast enough so that I wouldn’t get stuck and going too fast and bouncing so hard I damaged the van.
I made it through the east-west road without too much trouble and figured I had it made on the final few miles to the highway on the north-south road. (The east-west roads are usually the worst when the wind blows from the north as it had yesterday and continued to do today.)
As it turned out, though, one of the worst drifts of my 6.5 mile trip on the gravel was on the north-south road. I was tooling along the north-south road when a 3-foot high, twice-that-wide drift appeared in front of me. I didn’t have time to stop and turn around, so I speeded up, gripped the steering wheel tight and plowed through. The van slowed and the tires spun a little when I hit the middle, but, thankfully, it kept on going and I made it through andit to the highway. From there the drive to Grand Forks was a breeze.
I hope the plow comes before I head home. Between the snow covering the road so I can’t see it and the drifts blocking it, I’ve had enough driving adventures for one winter.
This promises to be a busy weekend for our household. Tomorrow my husband and I will be going in opposite directions as he heads east to run in a 10K race in Grand Forks and I head west (and north) to watch our oldest son in a wrestling tournament in Harvey, N.D.
It’s been years since I’ve been to Harvey and I had to get out my North Dakota map to refresh my memory of exactly where it is. I think the last time I was there was about 20 years ago when I did a story on a woman who raised black Arabian horses. One of the horses starred in the Black Stallion movie.
As I recall, it’ s a pretty long drive from here to there. I plan on riding with friends who are wrestling. I’m used to driving around the countryside by myself, but like it better when I have company. I’m especially glad I’ll get to ride with friends because the weather sounds like it might be a bit blustery tomorrow.
Another weekend, another snowstorm. Although we didn’t get as much snow as predicted, plenty fell Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We shovel our sidewalk every day, so I’m not sure how much fell during those three days, but I do know that when I went to my mom’s house over the weekend (she lives a couple of miles down the road from us) to shovel her sidewalks there was a good 6 inches on them. I had shoveled them a week or so ago so that amount had fallen fairly recently.
The new snow, combined with what already fell, is piling up in our yard. I have to heave the snow pretty high when I’m shoveling the walk or it hits the sides of the canyon we’ve created and falls back onto the sidewalk. The snow in the fields is deep, too, and I noticed the other day there isn’t much of the the unharvested corn peeking out over the top of the snow in one of the fields near our house.
It’s already shaping up to be a challenging spring. I just hope that the snowmelt is slow or there is going to be lots of water to deal with.
I’m looking foward to a super weekend. As usual, it will be filled with church and sports activities. On Saturday we will be traveling to Hillsboro, N.D., to watch son Brendan and his teammates on the Larimore (N.D.) High School squad wrestle in the regional dual tournament.
Sunday morning will be pretty much taken up with church and Sunday school, which is the way I believe it should be. Our sons , a seventh-grader and a fifth-grader and our daughter, a first-grader, will attend their Sunday school classes after 9 a.m. Mass and my husband and I will teach the third grade and sixth grade, respectively. I consider our family’s faith formation the most important aspect of our lives so attending church and Sunday school and teaching Sunday school is a privilege.
After we’re done with Sunday school, we’ll pick up my mom at her apartment in Larimore and have her spend the day with us. Later in the afternoon, she’ll go with us to my sister and brother-in-laws’ home near Northwood, N.D. They are having their annual Super Bowl party and I’m looking forward to eating some great food. They’re both wonderful cooks and always prepare delicious appetizers.
The weekend promises to be a super one, not because of the football game, but because it will revolve around faith and family, two of the most important things in my life.