Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wow, Spring Is Really Here!

I've been noticing and remarking on blooming things for a while now but the totality of it all just hit me. Spring is here ahead of the calendar and boy is it early!

I saw my first blooming daffodil about two weeks ago, obviously an early variety. The crocuses were about a week before that. Now all the daffodils are blooming at least two weeks ahead of schedule, along with the redbud and other pink and white-blooming ornamental trees . . . and the cherries - the real, edible ones. I've seen a slug of camelias in full bloom and early rhododendrons are out with others not far behind. Since the traditional peak of rhodie season is Mother's day (also the day to plant tomatoes and beans) anyone who arrives just for that should plan on getting here earlier.

The tulips are well up and should bloom soon, though someone told me he'd seen some actually in bloom. Either way, they'll bloom soon enough that they'll probably beat the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest outside of Woodburn, OR, which begins on March 25 (Hint: don't try to go on a weekend. The line of cars looks like the closing scene of Field of Dreams, except it's not dark. Go on a weekday if you can). It's worth seeing at least once if you're in the area because it's REALLY impressive. 40 acres of flowers are nothing if not impressive.

I've even seen magnolia trees in bloom and it's way early for them. Willow trees are about half green and most other trees are showing at least swollen buds. The pieris are blooming and . . . geez, I'm having trouble accessing my internal hard drive where I've stored all this information, but I know there's more. In any event, I saw my first bee of the year this morning and I may have seen a robin on someone's lawn, but there was someone tailgating me so it was too tough to slow down and get a better look.

So what does this have to do with Duck Juice, you ask? Well, as lovely as this warm winter has been (the December dump of snow nothwithstanding) and it's 65 today, there's a scary side. What if the grapevines bud out (normally an April thing) and then we get a sudden, late frost or freeze? Disaster! The tender shoots will get damaged, severely limiting the crop.

Won't happen, you say? Hah! It's supposed to (maybe) be mixed frozen precipitation down to the valley floor with snow levels at 1200 feet on Monday (which is what they said on December 29 we got a sudden dump of several inches of snow that snarled traffic for hours), and below freezing Monday night. That won't be great for the flowering plants and trees but at least, except for the cherries, none of those things produce a crop that people depend upon to make a living.

So what's to do? Keep your fingers crossed, Duck Juicers. Keep 'em crossed.

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