“Spring has Sprung

The grass has rizz

I wonder where

The flowers is.”

(A little ditty we used to sing as kids.)

March: the month spring returns – at least on the calendar.

I even saw a sap bucket and tubing on a tree yesterday (a week ago now). Just one tree. Someone’s an optimist.

But this is the month of optimism, especially coming on the ending edge of a winter like we’ve been having. Although, up here in this neck of the woods, we’ve actually missed a lot of real storms that slammed the rest of the coast and then calmed down to just soft snowfalls when they got up here — or went off out to sea altogether. Indeed, as I write this (last weekend now) that really beastly storm is still racing toward the East Coast. (One of my sons, a long-hauler, drove straight through it last night, through 8 hours of ice, and had to keep clearing ice from the headlights to see the road.) The monster was headed for us but it looks like a pressure system from the Great Lakes is pushing it below us. Another bullet dodged — I hope. We’ll know by the time you read this.

Come March, we watch for signs like the first robin, the first yellow blossoms of the forsythias, the ladybugs coming out of their winter hiding places in the walls, the first buds on the trees, the sap buckets on the maples, the driveways turning to muck — and we smile.

We know just about the time to expect "spring things" to appear. The fisherman is looking over his supply of flies, the fiddleheader knows, instinctively, just when the first mess of fiddleheads is ready to pick, the clotheslines flutter with new washed sheets, baby strollers start appearing on the sidewalks.

The world starts waking up and our spirits with it. Up on the farm, Grammie Mable would get out the BIG spoon and we kids would get our yearly dosing of “spring tonic,” sulfur and molasses. This was to clean the sludge out of our system that had piled up in the slower winter months.

Considering that sulfur is full of B vitamins, thiamine and biotin as well as protein and is especially vital for the brain, and that blackstrap molasses is full of iron, magnesium and calcium and helps control high blood pressure, it is indeed beneficial. So, even though the Grammies back then probably didn’t know all the stuff in this concoction, they did know that it was a powerful tonic.

Back in Grampa and Grammie’s days, and hundreds of years before them, farmers, (who comprised some 80-percent of the people,) kept a daily farm journal. Each day, they jotted down the weather conditions, the temperature, the first returning birds, budding trees, first plantings, etc. One of my favorite books is a farmer’s journal titled: “A Shelbourne Year.” It was originally a farmer and clergyman’s farm journal from the late 1700s in England, newly published with perfect illustrations. It is a fascinating day- by-day account of one year. It’s a shame this journaling tradition has gone by the wayside.

I have dabbled, over the years, with keeping a journal but I am woefully amiss in remembering to make daily, even monthly, entries. I did come across one with entries for March in 1993. The weather was pretty much the same as this year. The entry for March 6, along with a quick sketch of the sun peeking out from a combination of rain turning to freezing rain, said, “Started out at 45 degrees and sunny but turned to rain then freezing rain as the temp. dropped.” The following morning’s entry, with a smiling sun, read: “28 degrees, spun glass forest. Spectacular.”

The next entry wasn’t until March 26. It was actually 60 degrees! Be still, my heart. The notation was “warmest day since mid-October.” The next two days said: “70." And the notation was “fat ruffled grouse in the spruce/balsam grove down back. He’d look better in the fry pan for breakfast!” Unfortunately, the days then dropped back to the 30s.

So we’ve got a ways to go yet.

Rumor has it that we’re in for a really hot summer. Normally, that would occasion some groans about "long’s it don’t get up into the 80s to 90s." But this year, people are mainly thinking, “Fine with me. At least we don’t have to shovel it.”