Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is it spring yet?

It appears that the bad economy has even affected Mother Nature this year, as she seems to have forgotten to pay the heating bill.

I generally prefer the cooler weather, but even I will admit this is a little bit too cool for the season. The normal highs for this time of year are about 18-20C and lows around 5-8C. This year, we have had only a handful of days where we have broken into the double digits on the plus side of the thermometer. Brrr!!

So, what happened to spring? According to the calendar, it started back in March. That is generally a week or two before it actually hits this prairie berg.

Mother Nature usually likes to tease us a bit and throw a few spring like days at us in late February and early March - just enough to get us ready for the real thing.

We, here in Manitoba, have just come through one of the longest and coldest winters in a very long time. We had our usual cold January from late November through late March. Parts of April were more like February and May has just been ridiculous!

The Victoria Day long weekend was last weekend and that is traditionally the time that gardener's plant their flowers and veggie gardens as the risk of frost is very low. Camp grounds are full with people who have been chomping at the bit to get out and enjoy the first long weekend of the summer season.

Not this year! This May has been more like late March and early April. Most nights, the temperature has been around freezing or even colder. We've woken to temps in the -7 to -10 range with a wind chill!! We've had snow and freezing rain several days in the last month. Last weekend areas around Gimli and Dauphin had several inches of snow. Granted, it didn't last that long, but it really puts a crimp in the plans of winter-weary Manitobans.

If this were a normal spring, we'd already have packed away our winter gear and some would already be using air conditioners. This year, I did pack my winter boots away in mid April, but left out my duck boots which are insulated and perfect for wet weather or up to a couple of inches of snow. I wore them the first week or so of May to keep my feet warm. I haven't packed my winter or spring/fall jackets away yet as I've still been wearing the spring/fall one. I want to wash them both before I put them away, and well, there is no point in washing them if the cold weather isn't past yet.

The morning of May 14, I actually contemplated wearing long johns. The temp was about +4C but with the wind, it would be more like -4C. I didn't wear the long johns, but I also nearly froze standing at the bus stops and doing the walking between my destinations.

Most of us don't need to use our furnaces and heating systems past mid to late April. I had mine on till last Saturday. I also haven't switched my down duvet for my lighter weight down blanket. Even with a profusion of hot flashes, I still need the heat and duvet to stay warm.

Their should be leaves on the trees by now. They are just starting to open. The lilacs should be starting to bloom. I haven't seen or smelled any yet. The grass should be growing and we should be enjoying the patios and green spaces in and around The 'Peg. I've only heard a couple of lawn mowers so far this spring.

Instead, we are still wearing our polar fleece and shivering as we walk and stand at bus stops. A friend of mine told me that she sat out on her patio on Thursday morning and enjoyed her coffee - while wearing her parka! That's just wrong! I'm certainly not asking for hot weather - I don't like HOT weather - but seasonal would be very welcome!!

We Manitoban's are a tough bunch. We endure a lot of bad jokes and even tell quite a few of our own about our weather, BUT we also live and thrive here. We make the best of whatever Mother Nature hands us. Sure we complain about it, but we just put on another layer and go out and fill our lungs with the fresh crisp air as we go about our daily lives.

Looking at the long range forecast, it seems that the weather may finally be starting to become more spring-like. If the predictions are to be believed we should be above normal temps by late next week!

Mother Nature has been playing with us for months now, so I'm not putting any money on these predictions!

I may get brave and wash the winter jackets this weekend so they can be packed away till fall, but I haven't decided whether or not that act may just annoy Mother Nature to the point where she turns down the thermostat again.


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