Slowing spring down

Earlier this month, we were up in the high 70s, not unheard of, but very, very unusual for March, especially to have it last almost a week.  Most of the crocus and daffodils bloomed.  Many of the flowering trees did as well, and the maple trees flowered, turning their crowns a delicate red or yellow.  All the decidious foundation bushes leafed out, and then–as it tends to do in Michigan–it got cold.  Just in time, I think, to save most of the trees from making a big mistake.

If I remember right, I think maples are phototropic, which means they flower and leaf out according to how much light we are getting, not the temperature. But you know temps fit in there somewhere. We’re not done yet with the cool temperatures, but I think we might squeak by with no frost.  If we’re lucky.

Someone told me that the large quakes we got last year shifted the earth’s tilt by 2 degrees.  I’d really like to know if that is true, because if it is, that might be what we’re seeing–if it’s not just simply rising global temps. Which is what I’m tending toward, actually.  I’ve also heard from several sources that our zone map has shifted warmer, which I’d believe as fast as a Fraggle falls asleep at the drop of  a hat.  Still . . . trusting that the last frost date has shifted two weeks is hard.  We’ve never put in our annuals until memorial day, and the chart I found this year puts the last average frost at April 10th for Ann Arbor.

Anyway . . .  I covered a few bushes the other night when it was supposed to drop down to 26, but after a quick look at the long-range weather, I pulled them off and will just keep a close eye on them.  Most plants can take a little cold, but all my plants are new in the ground, and they don’t have a lot of reserves.  But I’m glad it cooled off.  As I said, a lot of trees and bushes are flowering, and as long as it stays cool, they will keep their color.  :-)

It makes it very hard to look at my yard, though, and know it’s too cold to play.

Robin watch: She checked out the nest platform again this morning, but again, moved on immediately.

24 Comments

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24 responses to “Slowing spring down

  1. The weather is being really weird and I was just thinking about that the other day. I had my windows open one week and then my fire on the next. I don’t know what the deal is.. but just as long as we get all our seasons I’m usually a happy camper.
    And I’m actually going to be doing a bit of gardening this summer with my son. I don’t have my own fenced in yard.. but our son (he is 11) seems very interested in planting some goodies. What a wonderful thing to do together! So I poked around and found a spot right outside our sunroom windows that I don’t think the neighbors will mess with or even mind digging around in. Who knows.. maybe this could turn into another nice little ritual for us to do as a family.

    • We’ve got our fireplace going this morning too, Lynn. I’m glad it cooled off, actually. But I did start a batch of seeds last night.

      Oh, I hope your garden grows! There’s nothing more satisfying than passing on a love of earth to instill a feeling of protectiveness.

  2. jkh

    The University of Washington and NOAA seismologists and related scientists did measure an axial tilt after that horrible ‘quake in Japan. And climate change is happening. I can’t call it “global warming” because it seems that is too simplistic a term.

    • Someone below said the shift was not 2, but more like .002%, which I would believe. I got to thinking about it, and 2% is really severe. And global warming? I think the term now used is global shift. The extremes are going to be wild. Frankly, I’m glad I’m back in MI where the lakes help moderate a lot of that. Seeing what happens to the ocean currents is going to be . . . interesting.

  3. Vampyre

    Howdy ma’am,

    Featured in the local news last week, a sea turtle nest was found on a north Florida beach. This is nearly a month to 6 weeks earlier than usual. Maybe the axis shift did happen.

    In the same time frame I saw PBS show about how fast the world’s glaciers are melting. In less than100 years my house may be under water. I live about 60 miles from the coast but it’s all low land.

    Axis shift, global warming or alien terraforming, something is going on. My theory is the aliens “helped” develope fossile fuels so we’d change the planet for them.🙂

    V^^^^V

    • Mmm, I’m kind of glad to hear about the turtle, Vampy. It feels like species are going to need all the oddballs in order to manage to adapt. Mmmm, there’s a story in that.

  4. Our are blooming. Just a little. I have seven… count them seven… Lilac bushes on my property. Most of them are pretty new they’re still tied to stakes from whoever planted them, but two of the bushes are large and the one is huge and old. I’m a little worried for the small ones but it’s been warmer in Iowa than it had in Michigan I think. I’m excited got them.
    I’ve got the book stuff out and I’m ready to go. I’m so excited… I’ve got to get to work. I want to be done in a year… Maybe… I hope.

    • OMGosh, Stephenie. Seven? I’m happy with my two! My ancient lilac has flower buds twice as big as last year. I can’t wait!! 🙂

      Good luck with your work, and remember, every hour you put in is one hour closer to writing ‘end’.

  5. We had almost no winter here in New England … and of course, like you, an early spring (though a hard frost the other night probably caused some disruption). Still, I notice our daffodils are still blooming as are the crocus and forsythia. I am one of those who believes humans have sped the earth-warming process, it’s hubris to assume that we alone are the cause. This has happened before, melting away ages of ice and turning the world tropical. We are a vain species assuming we are the reason everything happens. Not to say that we do not impact earth, but we are by no means the only force. As for whether or not a 2% change in the tilt of the earth would be headlines … really? We are so stupidly consumed by politics and other human pursuits we might not notice if the earth stopped rotating entirely … until we all just fell off!

  6. Mendi in STL

    Heyde Hey Kim,
    This spring, I’m just glad to still have my roof over my head! Two severe hail storms about a year apart, with a tornado jumping over our neighbor hood in between….blessed here. Anyway, our spring project is a new, improved patio! Yay!! I’ll have to email you (or Guy) a photo of the completed project. This is phase two after the retaining wall construction, then comes the fireplace and landscaping. Wanna come help during your “down” time! LOL

    • OMGosh, Mendi, that is a list! I don’t even want to think about what we’ve dodged lately.
      I like your project! Guy and I have a patio we want to put in too, but there are a few gottas first.

  7. James R. Fox

    Hi Ms. Kim-its Jim from Warren. We have giant herds of seagulls in both Youngstown and Warren(They came down the Mahoning River In a real bad winter up on the lake) They live on the top of the shopping malls all year round and make life miserable for people in the parking lots Unfortunately, the peregrine falcons are not into seagulls(They live on top of the office towers downtown in both Warren and Youngstown) BUT the falcons do eat the pigeons.You gotta see a peregrine whalloping a pigeon out of the air in a spray of blood, etc(The etc is really uuuglee) Peregrines have been clocked at 200MPH when hunting pigeons. Thats when the office workers eating lunch in the square and cheering the falcons get sprayed with etc.

    • James R. Fox

      Hi Ms. Kim almost forgot.Smudge has me on a Janis Joplin binge right now,and I gotta listen to her since she’s been putting up with me for over 15 years now-thats longer than a lot of wives ever make it. anyway, as Ms. Janis always said-get it while you can.

    • Wow, that sounds like fun. Except if you’re a pigeon.

  8. Diva

    Was that a Fraggle Rock reference? -wink- How fitting that the one song I still remember after all these years has a message of the promise of Spring.

    “There’s a rhythm.
    There’s a rising.
    There’s a dream of green that needs to wake,
    A password,
    And a promise,
    That the earth will never ever break it’s coming,
    Feel it humming,
    In the hearts we share with rock and sky so raise your voices high. . .”

    • jkh

      My daughter is just a little too old to have gotten me into Fraggle Rock. but I love that poem/song. I’m going to copy it out and read it at our next Big Family Dinner.

    • It was indeed, Diva. I loved watching Fraggle Rock with my kids until that last season and they started picking at my suspension of disbelief. I’d forgotten that song. Ooooh, yes!

  9. I won’t believe that things shifted until I see a few more years of early spring. I have a mini rose in a pot and it leafed out last week. I had to cover it. I was worried about the rest of my plants but this cold snap may be just what they need to sloooow down a bit. I usually plant on Memorial weekend and have learned through trial and error not to put in plants before that because we always always get a cold snap!

    • I totally understand, Colleen. It’s really hard to break that date, but I’m going to do it. Now I have an inkling of the importance of stonehenge and such. Can you imagine the pressure to conform there?

  10. Michelle Quinn

    Yes, Kim, the USDA issued its new zone map, and SW Michigan has gone to a zone 6, shifting upward from northern Kentucky. I’ve been growing zone 6 roses without winter protection for years, so wondered if this change was coming. It IS difficult to believe that our last frost date has shifted that drastically. That remains to be seen. Having as many years growing fruits and veggies as I do (25), I follow weather very closely. It is changing. I got peas, radishes, and other cool crops in the ground earlier than I ever have. My farmer friends are starting to pick asparagus, and we may not have any for market, which starts the third week of May. About the maples: they begin running sap when daytime temps reach a certain degree, and nighttime stays a certain degree (usually late February), but flowering and leafing are affected by temps. The quality of the sap is also affected by warm temps too soon. We had three days, THREE DAYS, here of ice fishing this winter. It’s a beautiful, gorgeous, Michigan spring this year, but dangerous for our orchard farmers. The orchards are blooming, and a hard freeze can destroy the crop. Oh, and I love your books, love love love. I think of you often, every time I go to our pagan non-denominational church we started up in January-bell tower, built in 1847, graveyard next door, but sigh….no pixies and no witch garden…yet. Love ya!

    • My asparagus is up already, too, and I believe you about the zone shift. Still, it’s hard to trust that the flowering trees know what they are doing. Arrrg. I’ve seen too many burned fruits before.
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the books. Thanks!

  11. tim collins

    Hi. The earth’s tilt did change but something more like .ooo2 than 2%. If so they would be talking about it now, instead of the election primaries. A 2% nudge would cause a “wobble” that would take hundreds of years to straighten out. Tremendous winds, earth quakes and flip flopping weather patterns would be occuring. Not the “mild” changes we have now. We are due for a Ice Age Now. The hot house effect believe it or not, will slow down a frozen over earth by a couple thousand years. Like most human positive accomplishments, it was done by accident.

    • I do believe that is the figure to go with, Tim. When you think about it, 2% is huge.
      I’m not trusting that our new greenhouse is all that good of a thing, but I love looking at the fossil record and seeing how the carbon levels in the air and the average temps correlate. Millions of years of stockpiling carbon out of the atmosphere and into the ground, and we are putting it all back in over a span of 100. What’s that going to look like a million years later?