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Spring in February

Garth Brown |

A February thaw on the farm usually consists of hammering rain, howling wind, and temperatures in the high thirties or maybe forty. In other words, it gets rid of the snow and softens the ground, but it's even more unpleasant than a typical winter day. But the past few days have been sunny with temperatures getting into the fifties, and, if forecasts can be believed, the rest of the week will be much the same.

When it gets unseasonably warm December or January it's a reminder of spring, but it's also bittersweet - even while appreciating the weather, it's impossible not to keep thinking about the imminent return of winter. But now, towards the end of February, it's just late enough to feel like a true harbinger of the changing seasons. It will certainly get colder than it is now, but while the fickleness of March in upstate New York might give us another blizzard, it's unlikely we'll see the sort of sustained, brutal freeze that we slogged through the years of the polar vortex.

In the meantime, the lengthening days and the balmy weather allow for early preparations. We're finishing up a new hoop in which the sows will farrow next month, and I'm going to build a new cold fame for our garden starts. Further out there are plans for a walk in freezer and more fences, but by the time those are underway spring really will be upon us.


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