There’s an old saying, at least up in the mountains, that if it thunders in February, it will frost in May.
I’m sitting here worried about what happens if it thunders in both January and February? Does that mean it will also frost in June?
In any event, it thundered several times in both months here on Charlie Brown Road, half way between Lancaster and Richmond. Loretta says the January thunder canceled out the ones we had in February and that it’s probably safe to assume that frosty weather is over.
On the other hand, she has cautioned me, several times, that it is probably too early to be putting an array of pepper, eggplant, tomato and other such plants out in the garden, nor should I be planting corn and beans because it is not yet the first of May and that doing such things before then is like begging for trouble.
In the meantime, I have checked the extended weather forecast on three different television stations, two online services and the National Weather Service. And, while no two of them are in precise agreement on what to expect or when to expect it, they do all agree that the temperature is not apt to get anywhere close to freezing between now and the first of the month.
And, since the first of the month falls on a Sunday and I am suspicious of bad luck if I garden on the Sabbath and the various weather suspects say it’s going to start raining tomorrow, I am going to go ahead and put all the plants out and get two or three long rows of corn and beans planted while the garden is still dry enough to cultivate today.
Of course, that’s assuming that Mr. Parkinson can be forced to tolerate that much time out in the sun. We may well have to do it a little bit a time and actually have to finish by the light of the moon, which was so bright last night that some of my neighbors were out walking the main road without benefit of a flashlight well after 10 p.m. The weather forecasters pretty much agree that tonight (Monday, April 25) is the last chance we’ll have to see anything by moonlight until around this time next month.
If all goes as planned and the weather continues to cooperate, I may even be out there pulling weeds by the light of the moon. It would not be the first time that I have resorted to that tactic to stay out of the heat.
And, if it does, indeed, frost after the first of May, it will not be the first time I’ve had to start from scratch.
One year we had a really late snow that stripped all the blades off sweet corn that was nearly waist-tall as well as all the leaves off the cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
The cornstalks died within a day or two as did the cabbage. but the cauliflower and broccoli seemed to do as well, if not better, without leaves, as did a couple or three Brussels sprouts. The tomato vines simply grew new foliage and endured a temporary setback, but just about everything else had to be replanted including the snow peas which aren’t nearly as fond of snow as their name implies.
Anyway, I’m sitting here thinking that all the well-paid weather “experts” spent a seemingly inordinate amount of time lamenting that the first two weeks of April set a record for cold temperatures, but I’ve yet to hear them muttering about what sure feels to me like record highs over the last half of the month. It’s 86 on my thermometer right now and has been that high several times over the last two weeks, but it’s still a long time until June when stuff like this is normal.
In fact, I’ve spent so much time sitting here at the keyboard wasting the coolness, that I may have to wait for the moon to rise before Mr. Parkinson will agree to go to the garden.