The Last Day of Winter

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

            The last day of winter doesn’t feel like winter.  Growing up in New Jersey, today might have brought snow.  Back then we wished for signs of spring.  Here in Texas, especially decades later, the signs of spring have been with us for weeks.  Redbuds in bloom, primroses, bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush all over the hillsides along 290, Blake Manor Road and the pastures at the barn. 

            Today was mostly cloudy, the air heavy with humidity.  The horses feel it, weighed down by heat and moisture.  Willis certainly does.  He is sluggish, hard to warm up.  He trots slowly.  His canter is still better going to the left; faster, smoother, more energetic.  When we jump a few low crossbars and fences, he goes better.  Willis likes to jump. 

            Daisy and I went to visit Charlotte this afternoon.  Her farm is green, lush, thick grass everywhere.  Wildflowers sprout along the fences.  Bright red poppies rise above the primroses and bluebonnets.  Chickens and guineas scatter across the fields.  Her horses Olive and Karma are looking well though each has experienced health issues recently.  Karma had two teeth pulled and Olive is very lame, a tendon problem.  The donkeys are as friendly as ever. 

            Dan gave me some very healthy vegetable plants:  tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber.  The tomatoes are Geranium, Cherokee Purple and Moneymaker.  Dan advised waiting to plant them until after Friday when the temperature is supposed to dip to 40.  The radishes we planted on Saturday are already sprouting and the pepper plants look perky.  Still, Dan’s garden is something to behold:  squash, spinach, peas, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes.  He also included a dill plant to keep squash bugs away.  I hope our garden can be a fraction as successful as Dan and Charlotte. 

            Owl 20F laid her fourth egg on Monday, March 16, the final egg in this clutch.  Last night we watched the male feed her several times in the box.  She no longer leaves the box for long periods of time but only short intervals to get a drink or maybe something to eat. 

            It feels like winter is fading from my memory, my experience.  The season is so much warmer now than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, longer than that.  New Years in the early 80s brought bitter cold and sometimes ice.  There were stretches of days at 20º.  That is gone now.  I will have to find the winter I’m missing somewhere else. 

Christine Baleshta