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Better days are coming

By Clif Knight 

Weather-wise, things are looking up in Hartselle’s northeast sector.  

After struggling through five consecutive days of freezing rain, sleet, snow and uninterrupted sub-zero temperatures, I rushed outside Sunday morning to feel the warmth of a sunny blue sky. 

The first thing I did, as usual, was to pick up the Sunday newspaper at the end of my driveway. Its weather forecast on the front page made my day: sunny today and sunny on two of the next three days with high temperatures of 48 degrees or more.  

What a relief that was, considering the nighttime low Thursday was 10 degrees with four inches of snow on the ground. 

The sunshine sparked my hope for an early spring, as has the gradual lengthening of daytime hours. However, there were still plenty of signs of winter left on the ground to point to the possibility of more dark, dreary, cold days ahead.  

Take the last visible signs of snow as an example. Clumps of snow remained at the stump ends of shade trees in the front and back yards, under shrubbery and on the north side of the house. Snow was banked a foot high on a north side picket fence and covered a portion of a flower bed on the south side of our house.  

The severe cold also took its toll on early blooming flowers and shrubs.  The redbuds on a shrub on the north side of the house, as well as a red rose bush on the south side, were killed and fell off. Jonquil beds in full bud were hunkered down after being covered by ice and snow but are already bouncing back and will fully recover after being exposed to warm temperatures. 

Freezing temperatures are not uncommon in February and March and can be used to an advantage by fruit and vegetable growers. Now’s a good time to make plans for flower and vegetable gardens and stock up with the plants, seeds and fertilizers you’ll need to plant when the time is right.  

It’s a good time to buy seed potatoes and put them in the ground when the soil dries out.  Cabbage, onions and greens can also stand cool weather temperatures.