Bob Mitchell: Several weeks until spring, but is winter over?
Here we are the second day out of February, hoping that the last of the winter winds have blown through Barry County. There is no reason to believe the area isn't due some reasonable weather conditions, even though there are several weeks ahead until the official arrival of spring.
From most indications, especially in the Almanac, there are chances of good weather reaching into the middle part of the month, especially for the Mississippi Valley. That's not exactly the case going further into the month -- especially toward the end of the month -- where there is always the opportunity for the area to find itself mixed up with an Easter storm.
Easter falls on April 27 this year, and the Farmers Almanac is calling for unsettled weather conditions to visit a large part of the country during that time.
Time to plant?
These probable conditions should be sufficient for those who might want to jump the gun in getting their garden plantings in the ground early. As far as mine is concerned, I'm going to try again this year, hoping a tree doesn't fall down on whole plantings of tomatoes this year. I might just follow the guidelines set by many veteran gardeners -- wait until Mother's Day. That means you can hopefully have tomatoes on the table July 4.
Sneaking a peak into the first part of April, conditions don't appear to be much better for weather conditions that would be conducive for early garden plantings. There are indicators that there will be chilly nights and mornings into April. These are the winds that blow through in springtime that can wipe out a garden in a single evening. Dropping temperatures and spring winds are situations that put tillers running for a second or third time, and trips to the store for more plants.
A good thing
As far as I'm concerned, there is a good date this month. March 13 is when Daylight Saving Time arrives.
Originally enacted during World War I to provide more daylight hours for planting to relieve food shortages, the practice has continued through the years. For a lot of folks, especially those who enjoy the outdoors, those longer days are right down their alley as far as being able to enjoy favorite pastimes.
If you're an opponent, think of it this way: Get a fishing pole and enjoy some of the most exciting parts of a day -- the long afternoon and just before dark. There is nothing like it on Table Rock Lake.
Never had the opportunity to be on the lake before leaves are completely out on trees? You have to experience this outdoor happening since it's the spring of the year and woods critters are out in large numbers. Just find yourself a cove, shut down the motor and put the bait in the water. Having accomplished this, you can sit and wait for animals to show in the woods or along the shoreline. That tug on your line can mean the lunker of your lifetime.
Make yourself a note on the arrival of Daylight Saving Time the second Sunday in March, and remember to spring forward one hour, or you won't be on time for church Sunday morning. That was always my mother's reminder.
Apparently, my favorite gripe hasn't caught on in some circles, since I'm still seeing photos appear in publications that use the United States Flag as a background.
I caught a real scolding, and I do mean a real one, once in the Navy, while photographing a Marine Corps promotion in the office of Brigadier General Chesty Puller. At that time, General Puller was the most decorated of Marine heroes. He was stationed on the Amphibious Base in Coronado, Calif., as an amphibious training officer, so he probably had the right to pull my chain.
During the photo assignment, I suggested the award be made in front of the American Flag, as a background, and the general flew mad, I thought he was going to explode.
He informed me, in his usual gruff voice (and a few unprintable words thrown in), "that flag is never to be disgraced and used as a background for anything!"
Fully realizing this isn't the first printing of this incident, it's one of the most worthy I can think of today. If it was good enough to express just more than 60 years ago by General Puller, it's good enough for me.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.