Sunday, March 13, 2016

50 Degrees of Balmy

I saw something on facebook the other day with an image of a thermometer reading 50 degrees and something along the lines of New Englanders "It's summer!" written under it. Of course now I can't find the image, so you'll have to use your imagination. What made me laugh, was that day it was about 52 degrees, and I was outside in a t-shirt. Why? Because that, I realize, is what New Englanders do. Having never lived outside of New England, I can't say for certain what the others are like, but I have to assume, based on images I've seen, that most of the country does not consider 50 degrees to be t-shirt and shorts weather. Here, on Cape Cod, in March, that's downright balmy and it's time to go to the beach.

This could be considered particularly odd, because at least on Cape Cod, it doesn't really get that cold. I mean, we have cold spells at times, but I can't remember the last time the temp was less than 20 degrees for more than a day. And it's rare. For most of the winter, the temperature stays in the mid to high 30's. I was outside in a t-shirt on Christmas Day, and two days later, it was snowing and 20 degrees. Then two days after that, if was in the high 40's again and the snow was gone and it was back to wearing a light sweatshirt over my t-shirt. It's not unusual for the temperatures here to change by 30 or more degrees in as many hours.

I wear t-shirts year round. That's a particular quirk or mine I've only recently started trying to overcome, but I've noticed it's not uncommon for other Cape Codders. Because of our weather, we are layers people. We can go out in the morning needing a jacket, be sweating to death by noon, and cold again after sunset. So sweatshirts are the coat of the Cape. I do own a winter jacket, and I can count the times on one hand that I've actually worn it this year. Most days, its pants, t-shirt, and sweatshirt.

So, why am I rambling on about the weather? Isn't that what people talk about when they don't have anything to talk about? Caught me. I was stumped on what to say today. I spent the past hour or so outside, because it's 53 degrees out. I raked the gardens and collected fallen sticks and generally did  the spring clean up in the yard. I broke a few nails, my feet are filthy (because yes, I was barefoot, and in a t-shirt), and I feel great. I've always loved doing yard work. Any kind of work where there is a clear and obvious result make me happy.
I don't have a before picture, because I don't think ahead and I wasn't planning on writing a blog about this, but use your imagination again. Believe it or not, that is a perennial garden. In another few weeks, it'll be full of bleeding hearts, iris, hostas, and a few others I don't know the name for. I love hostas in particular, because they are big, pretty, come in a variety of colors, and the best of all, they are impossible to kill. They require little to no maintenance. The little circle garden has catnip (which I harvest in the fall for my kitties) and I plant one tomato plant, because that is the one spot in my yard that actually gets sun for a sufficient amount of time to grow vegetables. I made another garden out back by clearing a bunch of scrub and ivy away.
I had to move the boxwood tree on the right because it was farther over, and was being smothered by the cedar tree. It's done amazingly well. I moved the smaller one also, so it was in the garden and not in the yard, but it isn't as pleased with it's new location. It's been the same size for years now. Also, the weird little figurine was originally a cow I believe, but it broke in the store and I thought it looked like one of the angry clouds from Mario, so I paid $2.97 for it. I think it's cute. But I digress...

I tried to make this garden an herb garden last summer, but quickly learned that the fence and the house blocks this garden from the sun about 80% of the time. The two locust trees done help either. Herbs like sunlight, apparently. Here is the tyme I planted the beginning of last summer.
I can't believe it survived at all, and that is exactly the size it was when I put it in the ground. I plan on digging it up and putting it in a pot on the deck, on the corner that gets sunlight. It can hang out with the lone tomato plant and tell horror stories of its life before.

It's always so wonderful when the winter lets go and we get these first 'warm' days of spring. It's time to pick up fallen branches, rake leaves, groom errant hedges, and viciously rip up and cut into tiny pieces any and all locust-tree-seedlings that dare pop up in the yard. Spring and fall are my favorite times of year. In a few more weeks it'll be 'warm' enough for me to go for long walks on the beach again with my shoes off, walking in the tide pools with my pants rolled to my knees. I can watch my garden start to grow (with little participation on my end, I love perennials), see how many babies the chipmunks that live under my deck have this year, and let the tortoise outside to roam the yard (strictly supervised so he doesn't escape. His name is Houdini for a reason)

So if you happen to be one of the crazy people that thinks 50 degrees is balmy, and that's what you've got going on outside, open the door and go out.

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