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The last gasp of winter? 

By Clif Knight

No one – except possibly the weatherman – expects it to snow in mid-March. It’s not likely when dandelions, wild onions and other obnoxious plants are popping up in the yard, Bradford pear trees are in full bloom and freezing temperatures are preceded by blue skies and spring-like weather. 

The weather prognosticators got it right this time. It snowed in the middle of the night March 11.  

Most of us were already in bed and had to wait until Saturday morning to see the snowfall’s beauty. A 2-inch snowfall was enough to cover everything but driveways and roadways. 

As I sit behind my computer two days later, I can see traces of the snow through the window and wonder if what I see is the last gasp of winter – or a reminder of the April blizzard that blindsided Hartselle more than 25 years ago. 

I remember driving into Hartselle from East Main Street that day and seeing nothing but a cloud of swirling snowflakes covering the downtown business district. Visibility was near zero. The town was deserted.  

The north-facing traffic signs and billboards on Highway 31were plastered with snow coverings, and east-west streets had snowdrifts three to four feet deep. The city’s grading machines were converted to snowplows and used to clear streets. 

Friday’s snowfall caught most residents by surprise. Lawn caretakers had just begun applying weed-killing chemicals to yards and making preparations for a new yard maintenance season. Gardeners were busy with early season plantings and getting ready to start a new growing season. Homeowners were busy with springtime outdoor work projects. 

With inflation on the rise, more families are looking at ways they can supplement the food budget with a home gardening project. A variety of grow-your-own fruit and vegetable projects are available to homeowners. A boxed garden bed can be used effectively to grow vegetables that do not require a lot of space. Squash, tomatoes, peppers and turnips are doable. Patio containers can be used to grow tomatoes and peppers. 

 

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