Wishing Winter Away


The forecast for my neck of the woods calls for lows in the teens and twenties and highs barely into the forties for the rest of the week. Brr! Despite the chilly forecast, mild winters are my favorite thing about living in Athens.

Once upon a time, snow days were gifts from God. I have fond memories of sledding, playing in the snow, and even camping. Getting a driver’s license changed my perspective. Snow lost its appeal.

A deep-seated hatred of cold weather developed in college. Classes at the University of Kentucky were rarely canceled. When roads were bad, just getting out of the subdivision was a challenge–never mind getting to campus.

Parking at the stadium was free. Sheltered stops didn’t exist. Students huddled to wait for a bus. Walking to and from class was torture, especially on windy days. My hatred grew with every step.

Moving south was a revelation. Groundhog’s Day took on new significance. In Kentucky, disappointing outcomes year after year had shaken my faith. This far south, an early spring is at least theoretically possible. That glimmer of hope sustains me. My faith in the prognosticating rodents has been restored.

Wishing for even milder winters is my downfall. About this time every year, my wishful thinking kicks into overdrive. I start seed like nobody’s business. By Groundhog’s Day, my wishful thinking reaches a fever pitch.

Shadow or not, it’s still too cold a few weeks later to plant anything and I’m out of space under lights and in the coldframe. Though they’re tiny and it’s too early, I plant a few seedlings anyway, only to lose track of them later and plant something else on top of them.

I’ll never stop wishing for an early spring, but this year, I’m not counting on it. The coldframe is already chocked-full of cool season veggies (Swiss chard, mustard, two kinds of lettuce, and spinach) in 4- and 6-inch pots. Everything was started indoors last year. The plan is to grow them to maturity in pots in the coldframe.

My seed-starting rack is empty, but ready to go. I’m waiting another week or two to start seed for spring and summer. I’m not growing nearly as many varieties as last year (25+) nor as many plants of each variety. We’ll see how that works out. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

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