As he descended the stairs this very morn, it was with a sigh of relief that Mr. Fuzzy's eyes beheld the orange glow of the dancing tongues of fire inside the firebox, for it was a cold 13F (-10C) outside with a roaring wind which dropped the chill factor to 0F (-18C). Its good there is no out of doors work on the schedule for today - although farms have a way of altering priorities... As noted in several prior posts, the temperatures remain on a roller coaster of very mild to bitter cold within the same week.
The unequivocally positive news is that the drought was declared relieved as of Wednesday. In fact, not only has Stratheden received goodly precipitation this winter but the forecast through the end of April is excellent:
Looking at this forecast, one must wonder if dust bowl years are ahead for the Great Plains, America's wheat fields. Mr. Fuzzy thanks his Tsalagi friends who warned him in 2007 that this climatic Armageddon was in the making; hence the removal from parched (and becoming ever more dessicated) New Mexico to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Wado!
Now the question is how to plan a garden for this growing season. Will it be cool and wet (2009), warm and normal (2010), normal temperature but far below normal rains (2011) or warm and occasional periods of no rain whatsoever even if the average is normal (2012)? Native neighbors in this area of the county (which does not relate to the eastern or western portions of the county when it involves summer precipitation) suspect a new cycle is forming of wet and mild winters with warm and drier summers. Last year saw a game theory of mini-max regret brought to fruition by planting part of the garden for dry, part for normal precipitation and some plants relatively insensitive to God's most precious gift. The strategy yielded fairly good results but was slightly confounded by the dry spell coming late just as peppers, for instance, were fruiting with wild abandon. The drought correlated with insect infestation, causing Mr. Fuzzy to wonder if those nasty little six legged cauliflower chompers had been happily resident in the fields and forests and were driven to the only refuge of tender eats.
As time to start seeds indoors approaches rapidly, the time for dusting off the "Hat of Prognostication" and placing said chapeau upon the noggin to determine the onset of spring. Will it be late, early, or will the roller coaster continue with days warm enough to place plants in the life giving solar rays followed by nights of killing frosts. Should you know the answer, please send a reply as soon as feasible.
The fire is dying down and new oaken logs need be inserted for continued comfort, thusly Mr. Fuzzy hopes that you, kind reader, are warm and comfortable and you have found redeeming merit in your time spent here.