the way out here

These first warm days

By HUNTER HILL
Posted 3/16/21

It’s officially T-shirt season in Pennsylvania. With the pallid sun-starved skin of winter, we northern-dwellers emerged this past week with excitement to make the most out of the first …

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the way out here

These first warm days

Posted

It’s officially T-shirt season in Pennsylvania. With the pallid sun-starved skin of winter, we northern-dwellers emerged this past week with excitement to make the most out of the first above-freezing temperatures of the 2021 calendar year. If you’re a fan of social media, you’ve likely seen the jokes circulating about the 20 seasons of spring and the various stages of thawing and re-freezing interrupted by mud and false alarms for fair weather. It’s always a time when vegetable growers need to show extra restraint as they fight the urge to plant when, any day, we could still be struck with another March snowstorm.

No, spring has not yet sprung, and by the time you are reading this, we will have passed the dreaded daylight savings day that steals an hour of sleep but gives us more time to get things done in the afternoons. Fortunately, for those of us chomping at the bit to start the inevitable yard work of spring, this at least affords us that valuable time after the nine-to-five: leaves can be raked, rocks can be picked up.

I, for one, keep the snowblower at the ready, if for no other reason than to deter the return of snow, as it would otherwise be tempted to catch me unprepared. No, it is not yet time to let our guard down, but much can still be accomplished with these warmer days and diminishing snow. As I watched the snowpack drop throughout the week, I recalled various projects that had been abandoned at the end of the fall season that now appeared in my yard, ready to be addressed once more. With these, of course, comes the maintenance of freshly fallen tree limbs, snow and ice damage, and other springtime preparations before the true work of summer.

Unfortunately for the ice fishermen in our area, this means an upcoming or already present delay to fishing as we transition from safe ice conditions to open water for the summer. If you’re like me, I spend this time restringing rods and organizing lures in my tackle box, jumbled from the previous year. Preparation is the name of the game, and the way out here, you either plan ahead or struggle instead.

Whether its play or work, the practice holds true that, in order to enjoy each season, you have to lay the groundwork in the months ahead. Even now, the farmers have ordered their seeds and begun their seedlings. Those with boats have begun to de-winterize their motors by changing out the oil in their lower units and swapping out fresh gas. As woodpiles begin to diminish from the hunger of the hearth, and furnaces begin to burn their last month’s supply of oil, homes are cleaned in
anticipation of spring as a way of mentally sweeping winter out the door. Physically, too, however, the dust and mud from this late winter/early spring become even more of an element battled by homeowners as they await cleaner warmer days. As my dad is always fond of stating, “You don’t have to shovel sunshine.”

Our family pets anticipate the change in the weather as we let them out for longer runs around the yard, and the yard itself melts further to reveal more area to play.

These first warm days are a sign of hope, a reminder that winter will not be here much longer. And soon, the things we all are preparing for will be upon us: Be it fun, or be it work, the march of time halts for no man, and thankfully so, for out of the dirge of dreary winter days, it pulls us along to the season of spring.

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