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DayCreek Journal

March 21, 2005

Old Wives' Tale

Springtime in Minnesota

Just like Christmas, spring comes to Minnesota just once each year. This year spring arrived on March 6th and promptly left on March 7th. Temperatures reached 63°(F) on March 6th—a one day heat wave. Since then, Minnesota has been in its second winter for this year. How many winters will Minneosota go through this year? It's hard to say.

Our neighbor Mandi tells me that her grandmother Elsie says that spring usually has three snows: the first being a "robin-backer", the second being a "bush-clinger" and finally a "crack-filler." I asked Mandi if last weekend's 15 inches of snow constituted as one of those three snows?...she said she wasn't sure.

I would speculate that the 15-inch snow would do more than rest on the back of a robin—it would break the poor bird's back. I have yet to see any robins, but who knows they could be buried under the snow. We'll have to wait for the current glacial ice sheet to melt to see if there are any frozen robins under the snow pack. If there are any robins underneath, I would consider this last snow to be the first of three.

I doubt that you could consider the 15-inch snow a bush-clinger. It would have to be a very large bush with large limbs. Plus I believe the bush has to have leaves on it in order to qualify. (See the Minnesotan Old Wives' Tales No. 1278-13567 sub-paragraph C.) Leaves may appear on bushes around here sometime in July. So maybe by July we might have the second to last of three snows before winter is over.

As far as the third snow is concerned, the ground would have to be dry enough to have cracks. This is assuming that the sun might shine for more than one day during a prolonged period of dry weather. August is usually the driest month around here, so maybe by August the third and final snow may fall. This would be just in time for September when the robin (if found alive and recovered from frost bite and a broken back) leaves and another winter returns.

How's the house?
This last snow was the heaviest snow to fall since the house was built and it was apparent that the three-foot roof overhang and wrap-around deck on the house did a good job keeping most of the snow from piling up against the walls. There was only a trace of snow to be found on the ground around the NW side of the house. All the other sides had no snow at all under the overhangs. The almost round shape of the house along with the overhangs really do a great job keeping the snow away from the walls.

Of course, the snow that is/was on the roof when warmed by the sun has to go somewhere. Somewhere happened to be over the bridge in back of the house. This required a lot of shoveling to clear three feet of snow off of the bridge. But, I'd rather have it there than on the roof.

Speaking of snow-sliding, the solar panels: both electric and hot water had most of the snow off of them as soon as the sun reappeared on Sunday. With sunny weather both Sunday and Monday, the solar electric system generated 48kW/hrs of electricity—the spring sun is doing it's thing! By the end of March, we should have over 1 Megawatt of surplus electricity for the year.

Well, I've got to get back to working on the CoCoCo papers. Richard, Rob and I are just about through editing the papers and we hope to have it in booklet form within the next few weeks. Maybe by then I'll be able to start working on the house once again depending which winter or spring we're experiencing.



A Goldfinch begins turn bright-yellow in anticipation of spring.